Water commission seeks report on encroachments | Pakistan Today

Water commission seeks report on encroachments

  • Says illegal constructions fall under its jurisdiction as they would affect water-related issues

  • Military Lands and Cantonment DG says shops under FTC flyover built by Corps V

The Supreme Court (SC)-mandated Judicial Commission on Water and Sanitation directed the municipal commissioner and military lands and cantonment director to submit a report regarding encroachment on Shara-e-Faisal and illegal shops under Finance and Trade Centre (FTC) and other flyovers, a private media channel reported on Sunday.

The directions were made by Water Commission’s head Justice (r) Amir Hani Muslim during a hearing of the commission in which was attended by Municipal Commissioner Saifur Rehman, Military Lands and Cantonment Director-General Khurshid Ali, Karachi Cantonment Board (KCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aamer Masood Khan, Sindh secretary and commission’s focal person Asif Hyder Shah and others.

Justice (r) Muslim called the respondent officials to explain encroachments and commercial activities under the overhead bridges and footpaths near Saddar police station, PECHS, Baloch Colony and other places.

“The commission has not been assigned the object of the nature to record any findings. However, issues of nature on the main roads will have a direct bearing on water, sanitation and municipal waste,” Justice (r) Muslim observed in the order.

At the outset of the proceedings, the coordinator, Asif Haider Shah, informed the commission regarding the illegal shops and encroachments at the FTC flyover and other flyovers.

The commission asked KCB CEO Aamer Masood Khan to inform the court about the laws through which they allowed construction beneath the overhead bridge. The CEO said that the advertisement walls had been removed on the orders of the apex court and the water commission. He also said that one wall of the Pakistan Army remained which was constructed for security reasons.

The commission further inquired about the laws that were used to allow business activities under the flyover. The CEO replied that Pakistan Army was constructing shops behind the wall. When the commission inquired whether the rights of the people can be usurped, the CEO responded that the Pakistan Army claimed that this was their area.

“The area has not been transferred to the government after the construction of the flyover. The wall has been constructed by the Corps V and its permission has not been taken from us,” he said.

The Military Lands and Cantonment (MLC) Director-General (DG) Khurshid Ali also appeared before the commission and maintained that the shops were constructed by the Corps V and claimed that they had no role in it.

The commission said that the issue was that when shops are constructed they discharge water which has no place to go. “Can buildings be constructed under flyovers? We are talking about the rights of the citizens. We will intervene if the rights of the citizens are violated,” the commission remarked.

Municipal Commissioner Saif-ur-Rehman shared that the advertisement wall at FTC had not been demolished. He said that only holes were made which he believed would be filled again.

The commission remarked that the case of advertisement walls was pending at the SC and that the construction of shops is a new contention. The commission added that the SC had also directed the army not to use the wall for business activities.

Sindh Advocate-General Salman Talib-ul-Din said that a new law for advertisements had been formulated on the orders of the SC. He informed the court that large signboards had been removed and warned that the large wall constructed on the FTC could be dangerous. The commission remarked that this matter can be referred to the SC.

The commission coordinator said that commercial activities under other flyovers must also end. The advocate-general said that vendors with wheelbarrows came daily and this served as a source of earning for poor people. “Can permission to sell drugs be given by thinking that this is a poor man?” the commission remarked.

There will be sewerage issues due to the construction of these shops under the flyovers. The residents of PECHS said that their lives had become miserable due to the commercial activities in the residential areas. There are heavy encroachments on the Khalid Bin Waleed road and other spots. The citizens said that their homes were not supplied with water. The commission directed the female citizen to submit a written request.

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