It is an unfortunate reality that gross irregularities, including illegal occupation of state land, forests and amenity parks, have occurred so frequently and defiantly that it has been adopted as a common practice by the powerful land mafia and their partners within the corridors of power.
In Karachi, major land irregularities started when Kidney Hill, a 62-acre hill-top plateau notified under the KDA Order of 1957 as an amenity plot for recreational purposes, was encroached. A fraudulent agreement was signed in 2006, which was challenged and still awaits final settlement. The perpetrators still manage to evade punishment and live comfortably abroad while the poor citizens who had been swindled are left to bear the tremendous burden. The Supreme Court has now ordered the demolition of the illegally constructed Nasla Towers. However, those who invested their lifelong savings to buy apartments there after ensuring that a no-objection certificate was issued and approval was given by the competent authority are now stripped of their homes and await justice. The association of builders, who chose to remain silent when such irregularities are committed by their members are now shedding crocodile’s tears. They should be forcing the concerned builder to compensate the poor citizens who are the true victims.
The Supreme Court must ensure that residents are compensated as per the prevailing market price. Such irregularities have become a norm in almost all cities across Pakistan. Just like the law of necessity, this ‘third party interest’ is being abused to prevent the law from taking its due course.
Malik Tariq Ali
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2021.