Court gives KMC seven days to clear Jahangir Park of encroachments

KMC administrator will have to appear in court in case of non-compliance


Our Correspondent November 02, 2015
Sindh High Court building. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) allowed seven days time to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) as a last chance to clear Jahangir Park of all illegal constructions.

"In case of non-compliance of the order, the KMC administrator is directed to appear in person on the next date of the hearing," ordered the two judges while hearing identical petitions seeking the removal of encroachments from the park.

Jahangir Park, which was gifted to the residents of Karachi by Zoroastrian philanthropist Byramji Jahangir Rajkotwalla in 1893, is no longer a leisure site due to illegal encroachments, according to the Rah-e-Raast Trust. The park was initially called Byram Bagh but later its name changed to Jahangir Park.

Syed Agha Attaullah Shah, chairperson of the NGO, had taken up the matter of the encroachments on the land of one of the few big parks in the city with the high court back in 2012.

He said that illegal constructions, including town offices and shops, had been established on the park's land by the private sector, as well as the municipality's employees.

Attaullah had told the judges that the court had repeatedly directed the KMC authorities to clear the park of unauthorised and illegal constructions over the past few years, but the order has yet to be implemented. Therefore, he pleaded that the court to initiate contempt proceedings.

Hearing the contempt plea on October 8, the SHC bench had ordered the KMC authorities to implement the earlier directives issued on September 16 by the next date of hearing.

The two judges, who had taken serious notice of the non-compliance of their directives, had also ordered the KMC administrator to answer for the disobedience, if the orders were not complied with.

During Monday's proceedings, KMC law officer Azra Muqeem submitted a report on behalf of the KMC authorities. In the report, it was stated that the administrator had taken action against the officers responsible for non-compliance of the court's order and had suspended them.

Those suspended included land director Aqeel Baig, anti-encroachment land director Mazhar Khan, Korangi additional director Moin Ghauri, anti-encroachment deputy director Asif Jetha, additional estate director Sohail Qaimkhani, deputy estate director Kaleem Abbas, deputy estate director Akmal Dar and deputy estate director Irshad.

Muqeem pleaded to the court to allow time for the KMC administrator for the compliance of the earlier order, dated September 16.

As a last chance, the SHC bench allowed seven days to the KMC authorities to do the needful. "In case of non-compliance of the order, the KMC administrator is directed to appear in person on the next date of the hearing," the judges warned, fixing the case for November 10.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2015.

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