Police blamed for thriving encroachments


Due to lack of cooperation by the police authorities, the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) is facing difficulties in removing illegal encroachments in the city, said Sindh Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani on Saturday. Speaking on a point of order in the Sindh Assembly, Durrani – also the KBCA in-charge – said that if the Karachi police extend cooperation, the building authority can clear all encroachments on the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) ground, the lands in Hawksbay and other illegally occupied properties in the city.
Earlier, Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro had presented for introduction in the assembly two bills, including a bill for the establishment of University of Sufism and Modern Sciences at Bhit Shah and the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto-Dewan University Bill, 2011. The consideration of the bills was also scheduled but the government postponed it due to the absence of the MQM members.
Meanwhile, Sindh Minority Affairs Minister Dr Mohan Lal informed the provincial legislature that the court has ordered the removal of encroachments on the YMCA ground, including an illegal parking lot and a restaurant, that were established in 2005. According to him, a fake body named Young Association was responsible for the illegal encroachments.
Responding to a question during the Question Hour, the minorities minister said around 46 temples and a church are located in Thatta district and six of them have been encroached upon by different people. The Minority Affairs Department has, however, issued directives to district officials concerned for vacating the worship places.
PPP lawmakers from Thatta, Humera Alwani and Sadiq Memon, suggested that a committee should be constituted and tasked with vacating these places from encroachers.
Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, however, told them that the minister concerned has been asked to visit the places and submit a report in the legislative house. He added that the assembly will take a decision in light of the report. Provincial Culture Minister Sassui Palijo, who also hails from the Thatta district, said the temple priests were themselves involved in illegal encroachments [on worship places].
Participating in the discussion, the local government minister said he himself had visited these temples along with some provincial assembly members and also issued directives for taking necessary steps for the removal of encroachments. MPA Anwar Maher said the government should take every possible step for vacating the worship places of minorities.
Answering another question, Dr Mohan Lal said that according to the 1998 national census, the population of minorities in Sindh stood at 2.643 million and the government has distributed some 26,784 forms among deserving minority families; out of which around 12,478 families are being given financial assistance. Assuring the house, he added that the remaining families would also be provided with the promised amount soon.
On another question, the minority affairs minister said that during 2008, Rs 77.139 million were spent on maintenance of the worship places of minorities while the government has allocated Rs 100 million in the fiscal year 2011-12 for the welfare of minorities.