KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday summoned the chief secretary and Karachi Development Authority (KDA) director general on March 30 with their respective proposals to increase strength and capacity of the authority to enable it safeguard land of the city and remove encroachments across the metropolis.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, also warned that in case of failure, an appropriate decision would be taken against the delinquent officials for non-compliance of its order.

The bench issued the summons while hearing the petition filed by some residents of Surjani Town, seeking directives for the provincial government, the KDA and other authorities concerned to retrieve their land from the private land grabbers.

At the outset, the judges recalled that on the last date, they had directed the Rangers, police to assist the KDA remove illegal encroachments from the subject land while the connections of gas, water and sewerage utilities were also ordered to be disconnected.

Court summons chief secretary, KDA director general on 30th

Giving 30-day time to comply with its directives, the judges had asked its office to communicate that order to the Rangers director general, DIG West-Zone and all the utility agencies.

However, during the hearing, the KDA officials appeared and filed a report, confirming that the land in question belonged to the petitioners, but some private persons had illegally occupied it and also obtained civic amenities connections.

They also regretted that the police and Rangers were approached as per the court’s directives to provide adequate assistance to the KDA staff for carrying out an operation to retrieve the subject land, but they failed to extend any help.

At this, the bench members noted that despite similar orders, “needful had not been done”.

The bench observed: “It appears that the KDA has a separate department of estate and enforcement, which regulates the matters relating to securing the possession of KDA land and also removal of encroachment on KDA’s land; however, it appears that no proper staff, force or equipment is available with the KDA to carry out their legal obligations.”

The judges noted: “Under these circumstances, we direct that the director general, KDA and chief secretary, the Government of Sindh, to be in attendance on the next date of hearing with some proposals as to how to increase the strength and capacity of the aforesaid department of the KDA so that the KDA authorities will be able to safeguard their land and also to remove encroachments thereon on their own strength and resources in accordance with the law, instead of asking other law enforcement agencies, which can provide assistance only in limited cases where courts so directs as there seems no legal provision in KDA Act to this effect”.

While fixing the matter for March 30, the bench directed the concerned police and Rangers to provide assistance to the KDA authorities and to ensure compliance of court’s orders.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2023

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