Supreme Court orders demolishing illegal highrises in Karachi
February 7, 2020 01:23 PM
The Chief Justice of Pakistan while ordering illegal constructions in several Karachi areas remarked that half of the megacity has been reduced into slums, thanks to the negligence of the concerned institutions.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the case at Karachi Registry of the apex court on Friday. The other two judges were Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.
The Chief Justice observed that a man can hardly walk around the colonies of Dehli, Neelum and Punjab in Karachi. “The illegal constructions are rampant in the city. Besides, the Lines Area is telling a sorry tale of affairs,” he added.
Chief Justice Gulzar asked “Who is allowing constructions at a land allotted to federal government officials for quarters? The government should tell who allowed the construction of these multi-storey structures. These illegal buildings must be razed to the ground.”
Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan was quick to inform the bench that some builders constructed these tall building after taking stay orders from the court. “It is not possible for us to demolish illegal constructions as the matter is already in court,” Advocate General Sindh argued in the court.
At which the CJP asked him to take immediate and strict action against illegal buildings and construct parks at the land of razed structures.
However, the Attorney General requested for some more time before submitting a report on the issue.
The Chief Justice came down hard particularly on officials of Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) for inaction regarding illegal buildings. He grilled the officials, persistently questioning “who gave the orders for constructing such tall buildings in colonies”.
During the proceedings, Chief Justice Gulzar ordered the demolition of the buildings constructed along the Gizri Road, saying the multi-storey buildings constructed illegally be demolished in order to reinstate the original colony.
CJP Gulzar further said that even DHA is an open secret, and a mere review will expose its de jure status. “All land leases given will be struck down,” he remarked, adding “Even, I may be removed. The rule of law must prevail; no matter if I am there or not.”
He said “Around 55 percent of Karachi has been reduced into slums, thanks to KMCA, KDA, and DMH, asking if the federal government would only sit and play flute?”
“Look what you people have done to the Quaid’s mausoleum. You built a flyover in front of it narrowing its view from outside,” the judge remarked.
Meanwhile, there has been a protest staged outside the Supreme Court Registry in Karachi. The demonstrators, who have been demanding possession of their land, included the employees from Pakistan Post Office, Cooperative Housing Society and from Bonjour Cooperative Society.
On Thursday last, the Chief Justice ordered the Sindh Government and Pakistan Railways to remove encroachments that come in the way of Karachi Circular Railway.
KPT land case
While hearing the KPT land allotment case, the Chief Justice said to Port officials that they are not the owners of the land. They were given the land for Port operations but they had issued licences of 25 years for commercial activities on this land.
The CJP said “Now you people are giving this land on 99-year lease. The land was allotted for Port activities but you people are allotting this land to yourselves now.”