SC orders to continue anti-encroachment drive in Karachi


KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) Karachi Registry on Tuesday ordered for continuing the grand operation against encroachment in the megacity and directed the Sindh chief secretary to lead the operation.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Umar Ata Bandial was hearing a case regarding illegal encroachments in the city.

The bench ordered the anti-encroachment team to lift debris of razed encroachments from Bagh-e-Ibne Qasim and other areas of the city.

The bench directed the chief secretary to ensure cooperation and consultation between all departments and institutions. “None of the institutions should interfere during the removal of encroachments and lifting of debris of the razed encroachment,” the bench remarked.

“We dream of Karachi returning to its original shape and colours,” remarked one of the judges.

The court also remarked that businesses institutions and restaurants were established on small plots which was discouraging pedestrian movement. “Now, there is no place to walk in the streets because of the traffic,” Justice Mushir Alam said.

The bench also observed that it was the Sindh Building Control Authority’s (SBCA) responsibility to keep the city in its original condition but it had done nothing but demonstrate that it was incompetent.

The Sindh advocate general told the court that help from experts was being sought to re-establish the city to its original shape. He said that experts were consulted for their opinions in a conference held on January 1.

“Had we taken action without consulting, a human tragedy might have occurred. We request the court to give us an extension for further preparation and action against encroachments,” he said.

The SBCA also requested the court for an additional eight-week time for the operation.

The court then ordered the anti-encroachment drive to continue in the city and asked the provincial chief secretary to supervise the operation. It also ordered the removal of rubble from the megacity.