KARACHI: Residents living around The Forum mall had earlier filed a complaint against the illegal construction of the structure, which is actually built on a residential plot.
The residents, however, have now stopped appealing against the tearing down of the mall as nothing has been done by the government so far, Shehri general manager Amber Alibhai said on Wednesday.
The owners of the mall had also tried to construct a multistorey car park as an extension of the mall, but were stopped on the appeal of the non-government organisation, Shehri. “We are still waiting for a decision by Justice Jawwad Khwaja, who is on the Makro case’s divisional bench of the Supreme Court. He first needs to decide the fate of Makro before we think about the Forum case,” Ms Alibhai said, adding that the mall was a small part of a larger scheme of illegal constructions.
Ashiana shopping mall, which is built next to The Forum, is also illegally constructed, Ms Alibhai volunteered.The land for both the malls, as well as the park next to The Forum, had originally been mapped out for residential construction and recreation. Shehri is currently fighting for illegal structures across the city to be torn down and replaced by structures that were originally planned for these spaces. “We don’t know what the fate of The Forum mall will be, but we hope it is in favour of the residents,” said Ms Alibhai. “Our aim is to try and get the people of Karachi to take greater interest in the city’s issues and for them to proactively help and solve problems,” said Roland D’Souza, a member of Shehri’s executive committee.
Meanwhile, thousands of people continue to shop at The Forum and Ashiana shopping malls. A number of companies are also running businesses aboved the multi-storey buildings, which attract large crowds of people every day.
Why do commercial entriprises want residential land?
- Residential zones are cheaper than commerical zones
- Infrastructure (electricity, water supply, sewerage) is better in most residential areas
- Residential areas are less congested than officially designated commercial areas
Why are they successful?
- To stop commercial encroachments, residents must go to court. It is a time consuming and expensive process and commercial enterprises are wealthier and more influential than residents
- Government officials in charge of inspection and zoning are openly corrupt or indifferent
- Many residents prefer to move out of an area after commercial enterprises take over, thereby speeding up the deterioration process of the entire area