KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) appointed on Wednesday an official to inquire into the laying of sewerage pipelines in the city's iconic Bagh Ibne Qasim.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, directed the official to submit an inquiry report within a month and adjourned the hearing till October 3.
Bagh Ibne Qasim controversy dominates assembly session
The bench was hearing identical petitions challenging the handing over of Karachi's iconic public park to the private real estate firm for 10 years. It directed the petitioner, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar's lawyer, to file a reply to the comments filed by the Bahria Town management, which said it was no more interested in taking over the park in question.
On April 4, the court had suspended the notification of handing over the public park to Bahria Town on a petition filed by the mayor, which got the Pakistan Peoples Party-led provincial government's move temporarily blocked.
SHC seeks details of Bagh Ibne Qasimagreement
In his plea, Akhtar had argued that it is the responsibility of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to transfer the functions of controlling the land owned by it, according to part-I of schedule-II of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.
Referring to part-II in schedule-II of the Act (Item No 52), he contended that as far as parks and gardens were concerned, such powers are exclusively vested in the metropolitan corporation to maintain and create any recreation for the convenience of the general public.
Malik Riaz clarifies Bahria Town stake in Karachi’s Bagh Ibne Qasim
According to the mayor, the agreement was a 'commercial' arrangement, whereby they had settled certain terms and conditions. Though the management of the park is being handed over to the private builder, the government would still be allocating budgets while paying the salaries of staff.
He had also referred to a judgment passed by the Supreme Court in a case relating to a portion of Bagh Ibne Qasim, wherein commercial activity was initiated and the apex court had concluded that 'no commercial activity could be carried [out] on an amenity plot'.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ