–Demolition operation against illegal constructions in Walled City remains unsuccessful after police arrive late
–DSP concerned says security SP did not assign anyone on duty at given time
LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has once again failed to carry out a demolition operation against the illegal constructions in Akbari Gate area of the Walled City of Lahore owing to the negligence and unavailability of police, Pakistan Today learnt on Wednesday.
According to sources, the operation was to be carried out at 7 am on the illegally constructed H-991 and 992 of Akbari Gate’s Tang Bazaar whereas the police squad was not available and the team of building control had to start the operation at 11 am. The operation was launched when only one squad of the police reached the site despite the authority’s request for two.
Officials of WCLA, present on the location, said that they had written a letter to the SP requesting the provision of two reserves and SHO of the police station concerned at 7 am but the police force did not arrive on time.
They said that they wanted to start the operation when the market was closed so that no argument or fight took place but due to the late arrival of police, and that too with only one reserve, they had to start the demolition operation at 11 am. Officials informed that the same letter was also sent to DSP Nolakha and SHO Akbari Gate.
Sources informed Pakistan Today that the building control department of WCLA had failed to demolish illegal constructions several times in the past as well because of unavailability and lack of support by the police and if the police had ever arrived on location it remained ineffective before the political pressures and the plaza mafia of the walled city.
Sources further said that in the operation on property H-991 and 992, a fight also broke among the locals of the area and WCLA building control officials while the police force remained silent as the clash grew up into a fierce physical fight.
The officials of WCLA Building Control Department were also harassed by the owner of the building, Malik Naveed, who is the councilor of Union Council 32 and associated with PML-N.
Sources present on the site informed that the officials of WCLA asked the owner if he had any approved map of the property on which he asked his son and other shopkeepers to beat the officials and to throw them out of the area.
They added that Malik Naveed kept shouting heatedly, “It is our area, our property and who is WCLA to intervene and guide us?”
They said that the WCLA team also wrote an application to the SHO of Akbari Gate against the people who were fighting with them but they refused to lodge FIR.
“We always plan to start a demolition operation early morning when the markets are closed so that the people don’t gather and mess around, but this time due to the delay by the police made the operation unsuccessful and the same situations have also happened in the past too,” WCLA Building Control Assistant Director Usman Diwan told this scribe.
WCLA Conservation and Planning Director Najamus Saquib said that after the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Akbar Ali Qureshi, WCLA’s Building Control Department had conducted almost 16 successful operations.
“Due to such situations, we are unable to pick up a pace for demolishing the illegal constructions. We are following a procedure for demolition in which we serve notices, inform the owner to get the property map approved and later if this doesn’t work we launch the demolition or sealing of a building. We are recommending all the property owners whose properties are under construction to submit the maps and if there are any discrepancies we inform them to alter the maps. Further, we are also telling the people that in case anyone needs technical support in terms of building plans WCLA would guide them,” Najam added.
Akbari Gate SHO Malik Sohail Zafar said that the matter was brought to him in the police station. “Police would definitely file an FIR against the parties involved in the fight,” he said.
Naulakha Church area deputy superintendent of police commented on the matter by saying that they had to follow a given official procedure and the letter from WCLA was to be sent to the SP Security.
“The office of SP (Security) did not assign anyone on duty at the given time, but as the matter was brought into the notice of the high ups, one reserve squad was sent to the location and they supported WCLA in carrying out the operation. We will be filing an FIR against those who maltreated the officials of the WCLA,” the DSP said.