Marriage hall owners withdraw strike call after govt assurance


–Karachi mayor says Sindh govt should file review petition on SC’s verdict ordering demolition of illegal buildings


KARACHI: The Karachi Marriage Halls Association (KMHA) on Saturday withdrew its threat to shut down all halls in the city after Sindh Minister for Local Governments Saeed Ghani assured them of not going forward with demolition orders issued by the Supreme Court (SC) in connection with the ongoing anti-encroachment drive.

“No wedding hall would be demolished on Monday,” Ghani assured the businessmen while warning that he would resign if he was made to raze 500 buildings in the port city in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives.

Earlier during the day, the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) had issued notices to 50 per cent of the districts in Karachi’s east and centre, warning against the continual of commercial activities at marriage halls.

Soon afterwards, disgruntled marriage hall owners had gathered at the SBCA office and blocked the Karachi University road for over six hours, causing a massive traffic jam.

A state of emergency was declared in the SBCA office after angry protesters tried to get enter their premises in Civic Centre.

“We were given a three-day notice. Where are we supposed to work?” the protesters asked.

They then announced of shutting down marriage halls in the city from Sunday onwards in protest over a notice issued by the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) which warned against the continual of commercial activities at marriage halls.

“We won’t be returning booking fees to anybody who was scheduled to get married in our halls,” they warned.

Furthermore, KMHA President Rana Raees Ahmed maintained that the marriage hall owners would not accept the responsibility of whatever losses are incurred by the public affected by the marriage hall shut down. “The Sindh government would have to answer to the public,” he said.

Speaking to a local media outlet, a caterer said that around 700 halls were booked on Sunday alone and they would lose millions if the weddings were cancelled and even more if the situation did not improve.

According to the details, the marriage hall owner’s fraternity had planned to conduct protests throughout the city from Jan 27 apart from observing a complete shutdown of all halls within the city.


Moreover, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, during a press conference on Saturday, said that the Sindh government should file a review petition on the SC’s verdict ordering the razing of structures built on residential plots.

On January 22, the SC had barred the use of residential houses for commercial purposes. “Wedding halls, shopping malls and plazas will not be constructed on residential plots within the remits of Cantonment Board,” SC’s Karachi registry had ordered while adding that all wedding halls situated along Karsaz, Shahrah-e-Faisal and Rashid Minhas Road must be demolished, come what may.

“The buildings which are not part of the master plan should be demolished. The city should be restored to how it was 40 years ago. No matter how many buildings there are, they should be demolished,” Justice Gulzar Ahmed had said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the SCBA, which is scheduled to begin its anti-encroachment operation from January 28, has not indulged in any negotiations with the KMHA since it is simply following SC orders whereas, Airport Security Force (ASF), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and other relevant authorities are supposed to submit a report to the apex court on the anti-encroachment drive’s progress within two weeks.