SHC issues arrest warrant for SBCA official over encroachments

Petitioner’s counsel accuses SBCA Saddar Town director of providing patronage to land mafia

​ Our Correspondent February 21, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued on Thursday an arrest warrant for Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) Saddar Town director Abdul Rehman Bhatti, over failure to remove illegal structures in compliance with court’s orders.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan, was informed by the petitioner’s counsel, Altaf Ghaffar, that encroachments abounded in Karachi’s Saddar Town, specifically referring to an illegally constructed building adjacent to Denso Hall.

He accused SBCA officials of providing patronage to land mafia involved in constructing illegal structures in the area and moved the court to order the immediate removal of encroachments from Saddar Town.

At this, the court expressed annoyance over Bhatti failing to appear before the court even after being summoned and issued an arrest warrant for him. Besides, it directed the relevant SHO to remove encroachments from the area.

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Contempt of court plea

At another hearing, the court issued notices to the East District DIG, Gulzar-e-Hijri DSP, Sachal SHO and other parties in contempt of court plea filed by a construction company against the officials.

The plea states that the SHC had ordered on September 9, 2016, to maintain status quo on a property, stretching over 18.2 acres, located in Gulzar-e-Hijri. It accuses East District DIG, Gulzar-e-Hijri DSP and Sachal SHO of misusing their authority to damage the main entrance of the property, constructed at a cost of approximately Rs30 million, nominating Mirza Asif Baig of perpetrating the offence. According to the plea, the accused violated court orders through their actions and, since then, have restricted the petitioner from entering the property. The plea moves the court to penalise the accused of violating court orders.

At this, the court issued notices to those accused, ordering them to submit their replies on February 25.

Missing persons

Meanwhile, a two-member bench, comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Saleem Jesar, hearing a plea seeking the recovery of over 70 missing persons, ordered the police to recover all missing persons and submit a report to the court at the next hearing.

At the hearing, the mother of two missing brothers, Asad and Waqar, informed the court that her sons had been missing for months after leaving home for work one morning. She said that she had filed a complaint at Gulbahar Police Station and had also apprised other law enforcement agencies of her predicament but no action was taken for Asad and Waqar’s recovery. She moved the court to order the recovery of the missing persons.

At this, the court directed the police to take measures for the immediate recovery of the missing persons and submit a report at the next hearing. It also sought replies from the Rangers director general, Sindh inspector general of police and other relevant authorities on the matter by March 19.

Land grabbing and encroachments

Missing children

At another hearing, the same bench ordered the relevant authorities to recover missing children and submit a progress report to the court at the next hearing.

Expressing annoyance that 15 children had still not been recovered, it directed the authorities to find out whether they were being used for illegal activities. “Seek reports from the provincial authorities, Edhi, Chhipa and other welfare organisations for the purpose,” the court stated. Besides, it ordered the authorities to have photographs of the children published in electronic and print media outlets.

The police informed the court that they had written letters to the various welfare organisations and provincial authorities for the children’s recovery.  At this, the court ordered the officials to submit a report on the progress made in the missing children’s cases on March 18.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2020.

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