SC orders to restore Karachi’s iconic tram service

Also asks authorities to immediately restore circular railways, expedite anti-encroachment drive


Nasir Butt November 17, 2018
Karachi tram service pictured in 1952 - PHOTO COURTESY: TWITTER / @bilalfqi

KARACHI: The Supreme Court has ordered authorities to restore in old areas of Karachi the tram service which was once a hallmark of the city but was closed down some 43 years back.

The order were issued on Saturday during a high-level meeting headed by the Supreme Court’s Justice Gulzar Ahmed and attended by key officials of Karachi’s civil administration, local government and railway. The meeting was held at the Supreme Court Karachi Registry.

According to sources who attended the meeting, the judge also ordered that circular railways be immediately restored in the city; that the railway lands be reclaimed and that encroachments from the circular railways tracks be removed in coordination with respective deputy commissioners.

“Not a single encroachment should now be seen in Karachi,” Justice Ahmed was quoted as saying.

The sources said the Supreme Court judge ordered that the tram service be run for tourism purposes from the city’s Saddar to old area. The judge has ordered preparation of carriages with the help of the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC), they added.

The authorities told the meeting that the local administration will determine route of the tram service in consultation with the Pakistan Railways (PR). The PR deputy superintendent, however, told the judge that the railways lands had been encroached on at different places.

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The judge ordered authorities that all the railway lands be recovered immediately. Justice Ahmed also directed deputy commissioners to get the land cleared from the areas under their jurisdiction. The SC judge also ordered immediate restoration of the circular railways that is also nonfunctional for years.

The judge ordered that Karachi should be cleansed of all the encroachments. He directed that the ongoing anti-encroachment drive should be expedited across the city.

The judge ordered that all the shops built under the city’s FTC Bridge be removed and all kinds of encroachments on the city’s main arteries – Sharea Faisal and Rashid Minhas Road – be removed. He also ordered that all cantonment boards and DHA also remove encroachments.

On Oct 28, a three-judge headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar gave a 15-day deadline to the local administration to clear all encroachments from the city. The bench was hearing petitions against encroachments all over the city especially on busy roads and footpaths.

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While hearing the matter, the bench, which also comprised Justice Musheer Alam and Justice Muneeb Akhtar, had summoned officials of the cantonment boards and Rangers to constitute a task force to help the local administration in retrieving the spaces occupied by encroachers throughout the metropolis.

Justice Nisar had said no permission was needed to remove encroachments as the court’s order was present. The top judge had asked Karachi Additional IG Ameer Sheikh to share his plan on how to end encroachments. Sheikh had assured of full cooperation.
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar had told the court that 70% of the city’s iconic Empress Market had been cleared of encroachments. The CJP had, however, ordered that the surrounding area of the colonial era market must also be cleared.

The court had also ordered the cantonment boards and Rangers to cooperate with the administration and directed that all encroachments from footpaths should also be cleared.

In an earlier meeting, the SC had also ordered administration to remove encroachments on parks in posh areas of the city. The SC had ordered that all the illegal constructions made on Karachi’s Hill Park be removed immediately. The Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) had also been asked to submit reports in this regard.

COMMENTS (7)

Shabbir Hussain | 3 years ago | Reply What about the encroachments on Banaras and around the mountains.
Parvez | 3 years ago | Reply The intention is good ...but a magic wand must also be provided to make this happen.....otherwise it will be money down the drain and a lot of discomfort for the people.
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