Authorities’ failure to lift KCR encroachments irks SC

Issues contempt notices to Sindh's chief secretary and the railways secretary


Hasnaat Malik November 10, 2020
ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court has issued contempt notices to Sindh's chief secretary and the railways secretary for not removing encroachments from the tracks of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), a defunct public transit system in Sindh provincial capital.

A three-member bench – presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed –also ordered both the officers to submit a written reply within two weeks while hearing the KCR case on Tuesday.

The court noted that despite its repeated orders the authorities had not started work for removing encroachments from the tracks of the KCR. Expressing displeasure over this non-compliance, the CJ noted that the bench would also summon the prime minister and Sindh chief minister, if needed.

A member of the bench Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the issue of encroachments could not be resolved through mere correspondences among officials. In this way, even five years would pass without any development on ground, he added.

The railways secretary, who was present in the courtroom, tried to pass the buck and contended that there was nothing to be done on his part. “You were given a chance to speak once. Should you be dismissed now?” the CJ replied.

He said the PPP led Sindh government did not follow the court orders for removing encroachments “and therefore the court is issuing show cause notices”.

The bench also ordered the chief secretary and the railways secretary to ensure their attendance at the next hearing. It also summoned the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) director-general.

The top court on August 10 directed officials to ensure that the KCR becomes operational this year.

“The deadline given [for the KCR’s restoration] has expired. Why has it not been restored?” the CJ had asked the railways secretary.

The secretary had told the bench that there were some obstructions due to the Green Line bus rapid transit project in the city. The court had ordered authorities to complete underpasses, flyovers, fencing and other work related to the KCR within the stipulated time.

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