Anti-encroachment operation in Saddar enters second day

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KARACHI: An anti-encroachment operation to clear out the Saddar area of Karachi entered its second day on Tuesday.

According to reports, the operation will focus on Empress Market, Passport Office and adjoining areas.

On Monday, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) anti-encroachments personnel, along with K-Electric workers, had started an operation to curb down illegal encroachments in the city. The authorities had staged a crackdown on the Karimabad area of the city by removing carts of fruit vendors and roadside stalls.

The anti-encroachment operation had started around Empress Market and Parking Plaza with heavy contingents of police and rangers taking part in the drive.

However, the operation was not completely effective as encroachments were still visible at different spots in the Saddar area.

Earlier on October 27, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had given the respective government departments a deadline of 15 days to clear encroachments all over Karachi.

While hearing cases in the Supreme Court (SC) Karachi Registry, the CJP had told Additional Inspector General (AIG) Amir Sheikh — the city’s police chief — that since a court order to clear encroachments was already present, the authorities did not need anyone’s permission to launch a citywide operation.

The AIG had assured the court that he was “ready to assist in whatever way [police] can”.

Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar had told the court that the authorities had cleared “up to 70 per cent of Empress Market”. The chief justice, however, was not satisfied and had directed the authorities to clear surrounding areas as well.

In response, Akhtar had assured the court: “We will completely clear out Saddar.”