SC orders KMC to present Karachi’s master plan on next hearing

Encroachment near PECHS nullah disrupts cleaning work, says KMC’s counsel


Our Correspondent May 30, 2019
Encroachment near PECHS nullah disrupts cleaning work, says KMC’s counsel. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) ordered on Wednesday the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to present Karachi's master plan on the next hearing.

A three-member-bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhter heard the KMC's plea at the Karachi registry. The counsel for KMC, Sameer Ghazanfar, argued that the area near the nullah in Pakistan Employees Cooperative Housing Society (PECHS) had been encroached. He said that the municipal corporation was responsible for cleaning the drainage system but it couldn't do so due to encroachments. He added that the width of the nullah had also reduced due to the illegal occupation of the land.

The court asked where the master plan was. The related authorities failed to provide the plan to court.

The court expressed annoyance with the authorities over their failure to provide the plan. Justice Baqar remarked that the city was being run without a master plan and asked who was responsible for it.

The court adjourned the case till the next hearing.

Plea to review death sentence

The apex court rejected the second review plea filed by a convict, Rustom Sheikh, who has been sentenced to death.

A three-member-bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel heard the plea through video link from Islamabad.

CJP Khosa remarked that the only option available to the convict now was to appeal to the president of Pakistan. The court rejected the second review plea and also rejected the request for extension to file an appeal for mercy to the President of Pakistan.

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The counsel for the criminal argued that the parties in the case had reached a settlement but due to the sections of terrorism, the case couldn't be dismissed. He said that Rustom is to be hanged to death today (Thursday) and asked that the court grant them an extension to file a plea for mercy.

The court remarked that the SC had completed its procedure and it was the right of the convict to file the appeal for mercy. The CJP remarked that the criminal can file an appeal for mercy to the president of Pakistan. Ha added however, the court cannot hear the review plea again after its rejection.

CJP Khosa referred to four verdicts of SC in this regard and said, "The law binds us, therefore we cannot hear the review plea again".

CJP Khosa said, "You only have one option open to you, to file a plea for mercy to the president of Pakistan again". He added that if the court hears the convict's review plea for the second time, all other criminals too would file review pleas again.

According to the police, Sheikh murdered two of his relatives in March, 1999. The deceased include Bashir Ahmed and Hyder Bux. The anti-terrorism court of Khairpur sentenced the criminal to death in October, 1999. All the pleas filed against the sentence awarded to him and the appeal for mercy has been rejected. His death warrant has also been issued.

Pre-arrest bail rejected

The same bench also rejected the pre-arrest bail pleas of accused, who have been declared absconders in a triple murder case.

After their pleas were rejected, the accused, Habibullah and Allah Bux, fled from the court and escaped.

The CJP remarked that the accused have been absconding since 2011. He asked how the court could grant them bail. He inquired why the accused were on the run for seven years.

The counsel for the accused argued that the accused felt threatened by the opponent party.

The CJP remarked that while the accused may have been threatened, they did not have respect for the law. What's the guarantee that they won't escape after being declared absconders, he asked, adding that it was unfair that the accused have come to ask for bail after being on the run for seven years. The role of accused in the case is clear, said Khosa adding that the court has to decide if the case is false or not.

The government lawyer argued that the accused did not deserve the bail in any case. The accused have allegedly killed Sajjad and two others. The case against the accused was registered at Daharki Police Station in 2011.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2019.

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