Unfortunately the precious amenity lands of Karachi have now been continuously illegally converted for profitable businesses. In Karachi, D.H.A and Cantonment Board have allotted several amenity lands (allotted for parks and green belts) to the petrol pumps, which were never designated for petrol pumps sites. Additionally, in terms of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002, the NOC from the Explosive Department is necessary for the construction of petrol pumps especially in the residential areas, however no such permission or NOCs were issued to these petrol pumps. More so, these petrol pumps site also failed to obtain any NOC from Sindh Environmental Protection Agency hence, clear violation of law in terms of Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997. Interestingly, no information regarding the allotment of amenity plots was given to the citizens of the area, which is the violation of Article 19-A (right to information) of the constitution of Pakistan.
Furthermore, several government departments have converted their respective precious lands, which were allotted to them for defence, education and training institutions purposes into business purposes including but not limited to Marriage Halls, Marriage Gardens Housing Society, Villas and Apartments spread all over Karachi and they never followed the unified code of Karachi Building & Town Planning Regulations, 2002 as well as Transfer of Property Act in stricto senso. Amenity plots that now been converted into commercial Marriage Halls/Marquees is a sheer violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan and as a result of which easement rights, privacy, and right of air has now been seriously jeopardised due to heavy rush, blockage of roads, traffic congestion and heart burning of general public as it is expected from the such authorities to follow Constitutional fundamental rights of. It has become a common practice that all of a sudden the authorities for the benefit of their high officials encroach upon public areas, plots, especially greenbelts, parks and playgrounds for commercial purposes.
That it is incumbent upon the government officials specially the DHA, Cantonment Board, Sindh Building Control Authority and Military Estate Office that a public office is a public agency and trust created in the interest and for the benefit of the people and since an incumbent of a public office is invested with certain powers and charged with certain duties pertinent to sovereignty, the powers so delegated to the officer are held in trust for the people and are to be exercised on behalf of the Government or of all citizens who may need the intervention of the officer. In other words, public officers are but the servants of the people and not their rulers.
ARSALAN RAJA (Advocate)