Court denies stay request over demolitions on Super Highway

Seeks arguments from SBCA, other parties over hotel owners' plea


Our Correspondent January 06, 2021

The Sindh High Court rejected on Tuesday a plea seeking stay on the anti-encroachment operation against hotels constructed at Super Highway.

The counsel representing the hotel owners maintained that the land on which his clients have constructed the hotels is for both residential and commercial purposes. He contended that the Sindh Building Control Authority's notice pertaining to the demolition of these hotels was illegal.

The court remarked that it would hear the arguments of the relevant authorities before issuing any orders on the matter and rejected the request for stay.

The court issued notices to the SBCA director-general and other parties over the plea.

Last year, the court had directed the Karachi Development Authority to launch a massive anti-encroachment drive in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area to vacate land occupied through China-cutting - a process of slicing of plots from parks and land earmarked for public amenities, and turning them into residential and commercial properties to be sold off for a huge profit. SHC had issued these orders over a plea accusing the KDA of supporting the land mafia in Gulistan-e-Jauhar.

Plea bargain

Meanwhile, a two-member bench, headed by Justice Iqbal Kalhoro, sought arguments over the plea bargain requests of two accused in a reference pertaining to illegal allotment of 56 acres of land in Korangi.

During the hearing, the defence counsel informed that the accused, Shokat Ishaq and Azam, want to return the amount of money that they are accused of embezzling to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

He moved the court to conduct an immediate hearing on his clients' plea bargain request.

The NAB prosecutor maintained that the accused cause millions of rupees of losses to the finance department by illegally allotting 56 acres of land in Korangi with the help of a mukhtiarkar. He informed the court that the reference against the accused has been filed.

The court sought arguments on the plea bargain requests of the accused on January 18.

Illegal allotment

The same bench sought arguments from the parties over the bail pleas of accused former Malir deputy commissioner and others, in the case pertaining to 59acres of land in Malir.

The petitioner's counsel maintained that accused former Malir DC Qazi Jan Muhammad has been imprisoned. He moved the court to hear the arguments on the bail plea.

The court sought the arguments on the bail pleas on February 4.

According to NAB, illegal land allotment was done with the help of senior member of board of revenue. As a result, millions rupees of loss was caused to finance department, claims NAB.

*With additional input from PPI

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2021.

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