Off limits: No roads lead to Do Darya in DHA

Restaurant owners claim they are being punished by DHA for going to court.


Photo Ayesha Mir/rabia Ali February 25, 2014
Concrete barriers have been placed on the main road leading to Do Darya food street in DHA Phase VIII. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

KARACHI:


People planning dinners on the food street in Defence Phase VIII will have to put their plans on hold as the roads leading up to Do Darya have been blocked.


The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) claimed there are ‘security’ reasons behind this move.

Since Sunday evening, the DHA has blocked the road near Creek Marina leading to the 18 restaurants located in Phase VIII. At the end of the other route that starts from Village restaurant, the DHA vigilance team has put up numerous barriers near the first restaurant on the Do Darya strip — both spots being manned by the vigilance guards.

The owners of the restaurants on this belt complained they are being punished by the authorities for going to court against them. The restaurants had filed a petition in court and obtained a stay order when DHA approached them to vacate the land. “If there is a security threat, then why are there no police and Rangers in the area?” Samad, the owner of Mirage restaurant, wanted to know. “DHA is targeting us only because we have a stay order against them and it wants us to leave by ruining our business.”

For their part, DHA spokesperson Major Aurangzeb said the steps were taken in the wake of security alerts in the city and to provide protection to the citizens. “We are not attacking the restaurants and there are no personal intentions behind this move,” he insisted.

His views were echoed by a field inspector who also said they were guarding the area due to security reasons. “Any terrorist can enter the area through the sea,” he claimed.

Even though DHA officials claimed they were in touch with the police about the security threats, the SHO of Darakhshan police station denied having any knowledge about such ‘dangers’. “We are not aware of the threats,” said Zawar Hussain. “All the steps of blocking roads were taken by the DHA only.”

This seems far from a temporary arrangement as the DHA vigilant inspectors present on the site spoke with other security officers about placing barbed wires around the barriers. They are planning to block other five to six routes around the restaurant strip.

Bad for business

For the residents making their way to the food street, finding out last-minute that access has been blocked is a damper on their plans. Sabah Khan was on her way to one of these restaurants a few days ago when a security officer told her to turn away the car. “They told us we cannot go ahead because there were some security issues,” she said. “So we just turned back.”

The owners of these restaurants lashed out at the DHA for using ‘security’ as a tactic to disturb business, and claimed this was illegal and against court orders. “The DHA had threatened us earlier that if we don’t leave this place, they will make our businesses go down,” said Sajjad Dayo, the owner of Sajjad Restaurant. “This is exactly what they are doing.”

The restaurants expect 90 per cent losses due to the blockades and a loss in employment of over 4,000 workers. “On Sundays, my restaurant is usually open till 2am but [this Sunday], after the blockades were erected, hardly anyone came.”

The owners complained that DHA failed to provide even basic amenities, such as gas and electricity, forcing them to depend on LPG and generators. The value of property in Phase VIII arose due to our businesses, an owner claimed. “This strip is known internationally and we are planning to go to the court again against the barriers that DHA has set up,” said another owner.

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Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2014.

COMMENTS (6)

Karachite | 7 years ago | Reply Do Darya restaurants have unique wooded architecture nowhere to be found in Karachi. It is one of the preferred place for the Karachites and people coming from upcountry. There are more than seven Clubs in DHA where VIP's can go and enjoy. This is the only good place which is open to general public. It is generating jobs for thousands of people and giving some relief to the entertainment starved people of Karachi. Beaches are public places and cannot be occupied like DHA is doing in the garb of development. If the place is on the lease, it can be extended. Such unique infrastructure should not be removed and kept as it is.
SM | 7 years ago | Reply

They let these restaurant workers slave to jump start their businesses, and once they see that these businesses have secured customers and good will, they intend to strip them of its ownership and take over. They must have planned this from the beginning, army does have its issues, like every organization in Pakistan it is also afflicted with ailments and corruption, after all every organization is made up of people, and depends entirely on their moral character.

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