Review sought of SC's verdict on Gujjar, Orangi Nullah demolitions

Counsel for affectees requests constitution of larger bench to hear review petition


Hasnaat Malik July 13, 2021
A file photo of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:

A petition seeking a review of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan's June 14 order pertaining to demolitions along the Gujjar and Orangi nullahs was filed with the SC on Tuesday.

"It was ordered that the government of Sindh, NDMA [National Disaster Management Authority] and the Administrator Karachi are to ensure that all lands of both Gujjar Nullah and Orangi Nullah and the right of way are cleared," read the petition.

It noted that the drive aims to clear the nullahs as well as construct a 30-feet wide road on both sides.

"Therefore, the consequence of the impugned order was a continuing demolition of thousands of houses/buildings/structures and dispossession of over 50,000 people, without any immediate substantive compensation or temporary rehabilitation," the petitioner maintained.

The counsel for the affectees, Faisal Siddiqi, said he would request for the constitution of a larger bench to hear the review petition.

Read Sindh govt in hot water before apex court

On June 14, the court ordered authorities to restart work to widen the stormwater drains and dismissed the area residents' plea against the anti-encroachment drive.

A three-member bench of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, heard the cases pertaining to illegal encroachments in the port city and the Karachi Circular Railway at the SC's Karachi Registry.

Earlier, scores of children affected by the drive staged a protest outside the Karachi Press Club, appealing to the court to uphold the stay order issued by the Sindh High Court against demolitions.

Holding placards and shouting slogans, the children decried the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Karachi's Central district with several families displaced.

Civil society groups claim that the anti-encroachment drives have already rendered a large number of children homeless. They argue that some 21,000 children will be displaced if all the marked houses along the nullahs are demolished.

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