Private security tents still populate DHA

Authority has failed to comply with Supreme Court’s order to remove security camps

Photo Athar Khan/SHEHARYAR ALI December 25, 2016
A bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, had passed the order on November 24 to remove all security camps outside houses across DHA on a petition moved by a former judge, Deedar Hussain Shah. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Bollywood song 'Dhak Dhak Karne Laga' plays on a small television screen. A young Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor cavort in a darkened forest as a burly guard looks on, a menacing assault rifle carelessly resting in his lap.

With one hand twirling his thick moustache, the other holds up a Morven cigarette to his lips as he takes deep puffs.

His small abode, a canvas tent, sits outside a lavish bungalow in a posh neighbourhood by the sea.

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The guard's tent is one of the hundreds of illegal installments the Supreme Court ordered the removal of a month ago. However, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) failed to comply with the orders and apparently turned a deaf ear to the top court's directions.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, had passed the order on November 24 to remove all security camps outside houses across DHA on a petition moved by a former judge, Deedar Hussain Shah.

Shah had alleged that while such camps were allowed outside the residences of politicians and high-profile officials, the camps outside his own residence had been removed without any justification.

During the previous hearing, CJ Jamali observed that there should be a uniform policy regarding the setting up of security camps outside residences in DHA. Therefore, the court had directed the DHA management to submit a uniform policy in this regard within 15 days.

DHA to remove illegal security camps outside residences

A prominent voice against VIP culture and the display of arms, social activist Naeem Sadiq says that the setting up of these security camps is a violation of Article 256 of the Constitution, which states that no individual or group shall be allowed to keep private militia.

What are these security camps if not militia? he asked. "Having 10 guards outside my home with modern assault rifles in their hands equals a private militia," he contended.

The verdict given by the Supreme Court was what every resident of DHA wanted, explained Sadiq, adding that these tents with aggressive men holding machine guns create a sense of unease and even harassment for the common man living in DHA.

"How can DHA allow such kind of encroachments? People pay for their houses, they don’t pay to use half of the road to set up luxury tents for their private militia," lamented Sadiq.

He also said that he believes a court order is a 'full stop'; either you obey it or you challenge it, but till now, DHA has failed to do either.

The general secretary of the Association of Defence Residents (ADR), Asad Kizilbash, told The Express Tribune that the entire situation is an example of utter discrimination. He explained that the same DHA imposes heavy penalties for any additional modifications in residents' houses, including temporary shades, but has closed its eyes to these security camps, some of which have encroached upon the roads as well.

These guards have also become part of the problem and DHA is aware of this, said Kizilbash. He added that killings and serious injuries due to firing incidents in the area have mainly involved these guards.

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The ADR general secretary also said that the people can clearly see how little our courts are respected, as the court had given DHA 15 days to comply with its order but it has been a month and no action has been taken. "I believe this is a contempt of court," he said.

DHA spokesperson Major Aurangzeb claimed they are acting upon the Supreme Court's order in the true letter and spirit.

He said they are taking action against the setting up of these security camps outside residences in the area.

Major Aurangzeb said that they have sent notices to the people who have set up these tents and after some time they will also initiate action against them.

The authority's spokesperson added that it might take a little more time, but soon they will be able to complete this exercise against illegal security tents.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2016.


Amir | 5 years ago | Reply no action will be taken as the tents are pitched outside politician, judiciary judges, armed forces senior personnel, embassies, etc. do you honestly feel they give a hoot what an ex-SC judge has to say. Look how everyone waited for him to retire at panama hearing....
omer | 5 years ago | Reply well we respect the law as soon as it is to be used against poor and weak
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