KMC yet to explain razing leased structures

SHC directs removal of encroachments in New Golimar, PECHS


Our Correspondent September 17, 2021

KARACHI:

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation has sought yet more time from the Sindh High Court to submit its reply on the demolition of leased structures along Mehmoodabad Nullah.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Muhammad Faisal Alam was hearing a plea against the demolition of leased structures under the garb of the judicially ordered anti-encroachment operation.

The petitioners’ counsel contended that the Supreme Court had ordered the removal of illegal encroachments but the KMC and other relevant authorities were razing leased houses instead of illegal structures in connivance with the land mafia. The counsel added that the SHC had also acknowledged his clients’ position but the court’s directives were not being implemented.

The petitioner prayed the court to restrict the anti-encroachment teams from demolishing leased houses.

The KMC’s counsel failed to submit a response and sought yet another extension from the court, which the bench granted. The bench issued notices to the Sindh chief secretary, municipal commissioner and Karachi commissioner seeking their replies. The court further sought clarification from the senior land director, the anti-encroachment cell and KMC officials.

Warning issued

The same bench issued a warning to the Central district deputy commissioner and gave him 15 days to submit his reply on a petition seeking removal of encroachments in Peetal Gali, New Golimar.

Read More: SHC summons KMC officer, Sindh lawyer

The petitioner’s counsel argued that Peetal Gali was once 20-feet-wide but has now been reduced to a width of eight feet and at some places, three feet. He contended that the relevant authorities have failed to perform their duties and have allowed the land mafia and local residents to encroach upon the street.

Irked, the court questioned why the Central DC was failing to act on this. Justice Khan noted that the court had given the district authorities a month’s time but no action was taken.

The bench warned the DC of contempt proceedings against him if encroachments are not cleared within 15 days and adjourned the hearing.

Footpath encroached

Hearing another case, pertaining to encroachments in PECHS, the bench directed the KMC authorities to immediately take action.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that a sidewalk in PECHS Block-VI has been encroached inconveniencing pedestrians. He added that his client had approached every forum before the approaching the court as a last resort.

The KMC’s counsel maintained that the petitioner had not reached out to the municipal authority.

Irked at the relevant authorities for failing to take action against encroachments and illegal occupations, the bench remarked that disappointed citizens have to turn to SHC for action.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2021.

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