Karachi’s nehr-e-khayyam gets breathing space as illegal building torn down


Nehr-e-Khayyam, a stormwater drain in Karachi’s upscale Clifton, has narrowed and transformed into a cesspool of sewage due to the illegal allotment of amenity plots by local government. An illegally constructed building on its bank is finally being demolished, it was reported.

Mahera Omar, who happens to be a documentary maker, shared a video clip of the demolition of the illegal encroachment. Providing context to this incident, she noted that “authorities that converted the stormwater drain into a toxic sewage nala have for years eyed its banks for commercial gains”.

She noted that in the 1990s, local authorities carved out eight plots on the amenity land belonging to the drain. However, she adds, Karachi’s residents were vigilant and took them to court for the illegal land conversion.

“In 2014, Amina Jilani, a resident of Karachi, took to court the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) administrator, Sindh Building Control Authority’s director-general, land utilisation department’s secretary and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s chief executive for illegally converting amenity land into plots,” she adds.

“The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2017 disclosed before the Sindh High Court violation of the laws of the land by a former director-general and other officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority in conniving with a private builder to encroach upon the amenity plot,” she went on to say.

She claimed that “courts have repeatedly restrained the authorities from carrying out any construction work around the drain due to which it is already half its original width and signs of further narrowing by filling sand along the sides are clearly visible”.