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KARACHI, Nov 16: While appreciating the Sindh government for compliance of court order suspending the ban on motorcycle riding in Karachi, the Sindh High Court on Friday ordered that the ban imposed on pillion riding may continue till ‘sufficient and effective measures’ were not taken to check illegal activities on motorcycles and registration of all bikes plying in the city.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam that was seized with the petition of Sindh High Court Bar Association General Secretary Shahab Sarki against the interior ministry’s ban on motorbike riding in Karachi also directed Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Waseem Ahmed to ensure that the excise and taxation department shall issue registration numbers to all motorcycles “within minimum period of time”.

The bench ordered: “We leave such time frame to be worked out by the additional chief secretary in consultation with the excise and taxation department to be notified to the court and it is expected that such time duration shall not be in any case more than seven days from the date of application.”

As for other vehicles, including four-wheelers, the bench ordered the authorities concerned to establish a vehicles registration wing at the Karachi Port Trust in view of the Supreme Court’s direction on the matter.

The bench also directed the authorities not to allow any vehicle leave the port without proper registration.

New arms law

On query of the court regarding screening of illegal weapons under Arms Act, it was informed that entirely new law, namely Arms Act 2012, had been formulated and its proposed draft was under consideration of the provincial law department. It was informed that the proposed draft would soon be placed before the chief minister for approval.

Earlier, SHCBA Secretary Shahab Sarki and President Anwar Mansoor Khan submitted that the Motor Vehicle Act contained sufficient provision which regulated the pillion rider use.The petitioner’s counsel said that there was also a proposed ban on the cellular services and a petition in this regard was also filed in the SHC.

The bench ordered the office to fix it before the court for passing appropriate orders after hearing.

The case would be fixed for hearing within 10 days.

Lyari expressway project

Another division bench of the Sindh High Court on Friday gave a last chance to the provincial authorities, city government and the Lyari Expressway Resettlement Project to allot plots and compensation of Rs50,000 each to the 83 affected people of the expressway project within three weeks.

A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar also expressed displeasure over the non-compliance of the court’s earlier order to this effect and warned that further “non-compliance of the order shall not be taken lightly and the officers responsible shall have to face consequences thereof”.

Petitioner Mohammed Usman and 82 others, represented by Advocate Fasihuz Zaman Abbasi, approached the SHC, seeking directions to the authorities to compensate them by providing each of them a plot and Rs50,000 in cash.

They cited the chief secretary, officials of the City District Government Karachi and the project director of the Lyari Expressway as respondents.

The petition was filed in 2010 and on Sept 29, 2010, the city government counsel Manzoor Ahmed had sought seven days to ascertain the reasons for non-payment of compensation to the petitioners. He had stated that the payment was not being made due to non-allocation of funds by the federal government.

On Oct 20, the city government once against expressed the respondents’ inability to pay the compensation on account of non-availability of funds. The counsel repeated the stance in the subsequent hearings on March 3, 2011, May 30, 20111, Nov 2, 2011 and Feb 14, 2012.

On Friday, the petitioner’s counsel informed the court that funds were made available to the project director, but the amount was consumed under various heads.

The bench ordered: “We would, in the circumstances, direct the Project director, Lyari Expressway Re-settlement Project to submit before us a detailed and comprehensive statement, disclosing as to when the amount, which perhaps was tune of Rs445 million, was received, to whom, on what dates, under what authority the payments were made out of such funds, specifying dates for each such payment, so that, appropriate orders may be passed.”

The court noted that none of the counsel and the officer present in the court was able to make a statement as to whether plots have been allotted to the petitioners.

The bench observed that the non-compliance of the court order and reported misappropriation of funds meant for the affected people certainly called for institution of contempt of court proceedings against all those responsible for such defiance, “However, still taking a lenient view, we would, grant three weeks more time to the respondents to make payments to the affectees, who are lawfully entitled to such payment, and to make allotment of plots where such has not been made, in accordance with law. Such also be done within three weeks,” the bench observed.

It further said: “It may be noted that this time non-compliance of the order shall not be taken lightly and the officers responsible shall have to face consequences thereof.”