KARACHI: As the city loses more and more public space to illegal occupiers, the commissioner’s office has decided to launch anti-encroachment courts to deal with the menace.
These courts have been established under all six deputy commissioners in Karachi, commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui announced at a meeting on Tuesday. “Under the Criminal Procedure Code Section 107, the deputy commissioner can arrest all encroachers and send them to jail for one month,” he said.
The main focus of Tuesday’s meeting was to work together with deputy commissioners and other stakeholders to restart a campaign to remove all road obstructions. The chief minister and the city administrator are working together to make the lives of people easier, he said. “On this forum, I want to spread a message to all that this journey will continue until all encroachments in the city have been removed,” he assured.
On the resistance they faced in Korangi, the commissioner said their recent operation in the area was successful. “The place [in Korangi] was allotted for a university but the land grabbers had gotten hold of it,” he said. The commissioner also asked Karachi Electric to help cut off illegal connections that shopkeepers have given out to street vendors.
He also asked the official representing the Cantonment Board about the encroachments around Jinnah hospital and directed him to arrest the ‘habitual’ encroachers. The deputy commissioner and the police superintendent will work with each other to protect public property from these land grabbers, he said, adding that these officials have magisterial powers to arrest offenders and keep them in jail.
Talking about the progress of post-development projects inaugurated by the chief minister on March 23, he clarified that the commissioner’s office only acts as a facilitator.
The commissioner said he has directed the deputy commissioners and other relevant departments to start a campaign against wall-chalking.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.