KARACHI: Reacting to the agreement of handing over of Bagh Ibne Qasim for 10 years to Bahria Town, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said the city government will not let the deal take place.
Akhtar termed the deal an ‘injustice’ towards the residents of Karachi.
Addressing the media at the Kothari Parade, Akhtar called the decision to hand over the 130-acre park to Bahria Town as illegal and vowed to challenge on Monday the decision in the Sindh High Court.
“How can the Sindh government hand over [the park] without involving the mayor in the process?” questioned Akhtar, adding that the park is owned by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.
According to Akhtar, the Sindh government’s bad governance has been exposed to everyone because of this decision. “They [the government] have failed miserably in developing the city,” Akhtar said.
We are elected people and can help the Sindh government improve the city, he said, stating that the Sindh government has been used to running matters with the help of administrators since the last eight years but the powers should now be handed over to the elected council.
“I’m not against Malik Riaz or an adoption policy,” said Akhtar, reiterating that if he [Riaz] wants to work for the betterment of the city, then he needs to follow procedure.
Akhtar maintained that the park is a gift of the Parsis to the people of Karachi and stated that Karachi deserves to be beautiful and if need be, other parks can be handed over [to the private sector], but it needs to be done according to the due process.
We gave proposals to the Sindh government but they did not take notice of them, Akhtar said.
There shouldn’t be permission of any commercial activity in the park, said Akhtar while objecting to the content of the agreement. He said assurances of not using amenity land for commercial activities were not enough. “There’s a trust deficit in this matter as previously, lands have been used for commercial activities once they were acquired,” he said.
“Riaz also called me and assured that he won’t adopt the park until the mayor agrees,” said Akhtar, adding that they will not allow anyone to barter the property of the common people of Karachi.