SC orders removal of Karachi billboards in three days


The Supreme Court rejected the report on Friday submitted by the city administration about illegal bill boards and gave the deadline of three days to remove them all.

Justice Amir Muslim Hani of the apex court conducted the hearing of illegal bill boards and withholdings installed in the city.

During the hearing, additional attorney general, DM seas and cantonment while submitting the report informed the court that about 98 per cent bill boards had been removed.

On this occasion, Justice Amir Muslim Hani observed that bill boards were still installed in the city and termed the report incorrect, adding that there were hundreds of bill boards from Faisal Highway to Kala Pul (Bridge). The court had pictures of these bill boards, he added.

The administrator informed the court that this area comes in the jurisdiction of cantonment board and the local administration cannot interfere in the affairs of cantonment.

The court responded that all were holding each other responsible. “Are cantonment authorities higher than the court?” he questioned.

Justice Amir Muslim Hani asked the name of chief executive officer (CEO) of cantonment board and directed to summon him in the court. The prosecutor told the apex court that he had gone abroad for some business. The justice expressed his anger over it and said if billboards were not removed from the city show cause notices would be issued and all the responsible persons including DMCs and administrator cantonment boards would be indicted.

Justice Hani said told all officials present in the court that they were responsible for this negligence and the court would indict them all. It was not just the issue of Faisal Highway but the entire city, he added.

The administrator South informed the apex court while introducing himself that he belonged to DMC (South). The court remarked, “you are responsible for everything. Under which law you have permitted to install the sign board?” however, the administrator did not respond.

The administrator central informed the court that he had assumed the charge few days earlier and did not permit to install the billboards.

“I think all the sign boards have been removed from District East,” he told the court. “Your thought will come true when you will be indicted,” the court remarked.

The director local tax informed the court that all the billboards had been removed except cantonment areas. The remaining billboards would be removed if the court ordered so, he said.

The Bill Boards Association submitted the policy report about size of the advertising boards in the apex court during the hearing and complained that there were only 10 per cent illegal sign boards which had destroyed their whole businesses.

Former president of the Bill Boards Association, Mashood Merchant, was of the view that order of the apex court was being implemented completely. He added that approximately 13 to 14 thousand bill boards were installed in Karachi and only 10 per cent of them were over-sized. But these bill boards were of influential people who were non-member of association, he added.

The Bill Boards Association demanded the court to take action not only against illegal bill boards but the concerned departments also who were allegedly involved in it. The apex court adjourned the hearing while giving deadline of three days to the parties.