Revenue officials have told the Supreme Court that various federal functionaries, including the Defence Housing Authority, have illegally encroached upon prime state lands in Karachi.
The disclosure was made before a three-member bench, comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Amir Hani Muslim on Wednesday, which is hearing the Karachi law and order suo motu implementation case at the apex court’s Karachi registry.
Since 2011, the apex court has been pushing the Sindh government to curb violence in Pakistan’s largest city, which has claimed hundreds of lives due to turf-wars between rival gangs involved in land grabbing, among other reasons.
A member of the Sindh Board of Revenue’s Resettlement and Surveys Wing, Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, said 10,515 acres of state land was under “institutional encroachment”.
Asked what this meant, Shah claimed that these lands had been encroached upon by the DHA, Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority and Malir Development Authority.
The official added that out of 681,000 acres of unregistered government land in Karachi, 628,000 acres had been surveyed. The bench directed the Sindh Board of Revenue’s authorities to extend the scope of land registration to the rest of the province and the provincial chief secretary was directed to make funds available to perform this task.
The SC bench also issued a notice to the advocate general to file comments on an application alleging that President Asif Ali Zardari’s foster brother, Owais Muzaffar, had illegally grabbed vast state lands.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.