Poor have same rights as PM, president: SC

Published: September 8, 2015
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Demolished site of sector I-11 Katchi Abadi. PHOTO: INP

Demolished site of sector I-11 Katchi Abadi. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has directed the federal and provincial governments to submit reports regarding allocation of funds in budgets for providing housing to low-income groups in the last 14 years.

A three judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja was hearing identical petitions against the demolition of the Sector I-11 katchi abadi by Capital Development Authority (CDA) .

The bench said its orders of August 26 and 31 shall continue. “Until next hearing, no action adverse to katchi abadis shall be taken,” said the order.

During the hearing, the chief justice (CJ) questioned why the state failed to enforce articles 9, 14, 25 and 38 of the Constitution in the last 42 years. “Tell us you need more than 42 years for ensuring the basic rights of people,” the CJ asked the additional attorney general (AAG).

The court observed that the poor are entitled to the same basic and fundamental rights as enjoyed by the president and prime minister.

The bench asked the federal and provincial governments that the report should include how much funds were allocated, what were the targets and what is the success ratio. It said after the report is submitted an appropriate order will be passed in accordance with the Constitution.

AAG Aamir Rehamn submitted before the court that a national housing policy was made in 2011 while policy guidelines for katchi abadis were framed in 2001. He further said in 2014, a scheme ‘Apna Ghar’ was launched.

Abid Hassan Manto, counsel for the petitioners, submitted that after filing this instant petition, lots of people facing the same problems approached him. He said the people of I-11 had been living there for 20 to 30 years but now the CDA says the slum is illegal. Justice Dost Muhammad asked who were those officials who had approved these katchi abadis which were illegal?

He observed that 20 per cent dwellers in the I-11 katchi abadi work at the nearby fruit and vegetable market while the rest work at houses of government officials.

In his reply, Manto submitted reports on behalf of Tasneem Siddiqui, a planning expert, on the development of shelters for slum residents.

“This is a vital issue which is not properly addressed,” Justice Dost remarked, adding if the government is unable to launch any scheme for the shelter-less than the task can be assigned to two private housing companies which are expert in the field.

During the hearing, AG Balochistan Ayyaz Swati told the court there is no policy for katchi abadis in the province while AAG Razzaq Mirza said soon a policy would be made for slums in the province.

The CJ told him they need to take concrete steps for welfare of slum dwellers.

The hearing was then adjourned till September 21.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Saleem
    Sep 8, 2015 - 11:14AM

    There is prospering ‘Media Town’ and ‘Judges Colony’ next to Bahria Town in Islamabad. Can we relocate I-10 illegal occupiers to these societies ? They should get the same rights as President , PM , CJ or the activist lawyers and media men. The Iftikhar Chaudhary fiasco has already made the pious role as questionable.Recommend

  • bash gul
    Sep 8, 2015 - 12:56PM

    Is ET talking about the Supreme Court of Pakistan? Or some civilized western country? After 69 years, the SC came to know that there are poor also in this country. Catch those in the government who helped build these illegal houses.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 8, 2015 - 2:42PM

    Practice what you preach……that way you will have the moral authority to force others to follow.Recommend

  • Jalbani Baloch
    Sep 8, 2015 - 3:37PM

    Daily reporting of Supreme Court in the electronic and print media is not good itself for the credibility of the Court, which upholds law and justice. This culture of reporting courtroom proceedings, which do not tantamount to decisions, makes it hard to believe if it is politics or fair of delivery of justice. The Supreme Court judges and staff should not be in the limelight or media attention at all.Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Sep 8, 2015 - 4:40PM

    @bash gul:
    Ridiculous. Our judiciary was not independent for many decades. Read our judicial, political and bureaucratic history before making unsubstantiated accusations.Recommend

  • Jalal
    Sep 8, 2015 - 5:06PM

    My worry is we will soon see another Arsalan Iftikhar. Once bitten twice shy.Recommend

  • Husna Abid
    Sep 8, 2015 - 9:57PM

    The poor have the same rights as the PM? really ? Then let all the Justices move from their lavish mansions & live a week in the poor settlements. They should put their money where they mouth is…? WHERE is their no Government Agency that helps low income people with decent housing? We can builld high-rises, shopping centers & multplexes what does it say of us when we cannot house the poor among us? Recommend

  • Umm
    Sep 8, 2015 - 10:27PM

    HA HA.Recommend

  • Aleem
    Sep 9, 2015 - 1:43AM

    As if we needed to be reminded of that. What a waste of SC’s time. It would be better if this becomes the focus of those who are to implement such societal changes.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Sep 9, 2015 - 3:03AM

    Highest paid generals are the only exception. Everybody else is equal under Pakistanis law. Recommend

  • Malik Tariq
    Sep 9, 2015 - 5:13AM

    Justice Jawad Khawaja will always be remembered as a man who did not submit to the establishment, but stood up for delivering justice to the common tax paying citizens of Pakistan who have always been denied their lawful rights. The biggest compliment to Justice Jawad was that during his 23 day tenure as Chief Justice all the corrupt members of the so called elite involved in unlawful activities tried to evade the court, fearing that finally they may face wrath of justice.Recommend

  • Shafiullah Shirazi
    Sep 9, 2015 - 8:02AM

    with great respect for judiciary this statement is no less than rubbing salt in the wounds of poor. Let’s try give them basic human rights. this will do for the moment…..Recommend

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