KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) directed the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) senior director to submit the master plan of Karachi on Tuesday, which shows the existence of storm water drains (nullahs) in Pakistan Employees Cooperative Housing Society (PECHS). The top court also directed the KMC authorities concerned to ensure removal of all kinds of encroachments from the amenity land belonging to the storm water drain.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, was hearing a petition filed by the metropolitan corporation seeking removal of encroachments on the nullah in PECHS, at its Karachi Registry. The metropolitan corporation had approached SC against the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) for allowing commercial constructions on the land and to seek court’s order for removal of alleged illegal markets built over the nullahs.
At the outset, the bench members asked the KMC’s master plan senior director to produce the master plan of the city in order to prove the existence of the nullah in question. The official, Muhammad Sarfaraz Khan, failed to do so. This visibly irked the judges, who came down hard on the senior director.
The bench members remarked that the senior director may be sent to jail over his careless attitude because the growing encroachments had not left enough space for the citizens to even breathe. Addressing the senior director, Justice Ahmed observed Karachi was not a city anymore.
Expressing their concerns over the manner in which the KMC authorities were working, the judges remarked whether they get paid to destroy the city. The deputy attorney-general informed the bench that the nullah was ten feet wide and had a road on the either side.
However, KMC’s senior director disputed the federal law officer’s claim. He said the actual width of the nullah was 35 feet, which had shrunk since the SBCA allowed construction of commercial markets on and along the nullah.
The bench members noted that the nullahs had been clogged, adding that construction work is done on them as if the authorities concerned wanted the city to completely submerge in the rains. The judges questioned whether the departments’ role was to allow construction of commercial shops on the drains and make money from such activities.
The furious bench members remarked that the city could not be handed over to such departments. They said that there was not a single road in the city made properly, including the main artery Sharae Faisal. Justice Ahmed commented that the gutters are overflowing and filth is on the roads all over the city.
The bench directed the KMC official to submit the master plan of the city by the next hearing. In the meantime, it ordered the KMC authorities to ensure removal of encroachments from the amenity land belonging to the storm water drain. A compliance report is also sought on the next date.