–Justice Nisar asks Waseem Akhtar if he wanted to spark ethnic clashes in provincial capital
–CJP says will start anti-encroachment drive from cantonment areas
KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday questioned Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar as to why “he initiated clashes” earlier during the week in the city.
A two-member bench of the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry headed by CJP Nisar heard a case pertaining to the operation for eviction of Pakistan Quarters residents.
Expressing anger at the Karachi mayor, the chief justice asked him, “Why did you initiate clashes in the city?”
“Big political leaders were present there and chaos had been created,” the chief justice said, adding that “the eviction operation at Pakistan Quarters was not against either Mohajirs, Sindhis or Punjabis”.
“Did you want to spark an ethnic clash?” he asked Akhtar.
“End and bury these ethnic differences now. Over here, nobody is a Mohajir or a Punjabi, we are all Pakistanis,” Justice Nisar asserted.
Furthermore, he asked the mayor why the top leaders of his political party were present when clashes were taking place between residents and police.
“Had you informed me would this issued not have been solved easily?” Justice Nisar further questioned.
“If they are occupying the residences illegally, should the matter not be taken up?” he asked.
“Children are residing in the quarters and the matter would have been resolved. It is your responsibility to ensure justice but like this parks will be occupied and residences will be made there, tell us if you obeyed court orders?” Justice Nisar further said.
Earlier on Wednesday, CJP Nisar extended the deadline by three months to evict Pakistan Quarters residents following the clashes between the residents of the federal housing colonies and police.
At least 16 people, including six police personnel, were injured as a protest by the residents against their eviction led to clashes with the forces.
Separately, the top court ordered that a joint team be formed to remove illegal encroachments in the metropolis while hearing a case against land mafia in the provincial capital.
Directing that a team be formed, the top judge summoned the Karachi mayor, heads of cantonment, Karachi Development Authority and others on Saturday.
The court also summoned the Sindh inspector general and director general Rangers
During the hearing, Justice Mushir Alam said, “We should start the anti-encroachment drive from Saddar.” To this, Justice Nisar remarked, “Saddar should be the first area to be cleared to set an example.”
CJP Nisar asked Akhtar about the work being done to clean nullahs, “You said they will be cleaned, have they been?”
The Karachi mayor then told the court, “We have cleared parks of illegal occupants and razed illegal wedding halls. We are conducting inquiries and the control now lies with me and work is being done.”
At this, Justice Mushir Alam said, “There are still encroachments on both sides of Jahangir Park.”
Justice Nisar added, “You [Akhtar] have given Saddar area to transport mafia, the entire area is in a terrible condition.” Akhtar, however, responded, “It is a cantonment area and I cannot conduct an inquiry there.”
Hearing this, Justice Nisar directed that a team be formed consisting of different departments.
The chief justice then remarked, “Who are those people who violated the law? If the law is not respected then progress will not be made.”
Following this, Akhtar said, “I do not have the authority and only police is cooperating.”
Justice Nisar responded, “When we want to evict illegal occupants then you people make human chains, we need to come up with a solution that does not affect the poor.”