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May 15, 2019

SC directs Sindh CM to take proper action for remedying Karachi affairs


May 15, 2019

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that there is total collapse of all civic agencies in Karachi and directed the Sindh government, especially chief minister Sindh, to take proper action for remedying the state of affairs of Karachi.

Issuing a detailed order on petitions against illegal encroachments on public parks and amenity lands in Karachi, the SC’s two-member bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, observed the most sorry situation is that none of the agencies responsible for dealing with the affairs of Karachi seem to be working or even interested in working.

“There is total collapse of all civic agencies in the city of Karachi,” the court observed, pointing out that there seems to be no manner in sight where it can be seen that any work is being done to remedy this situation.

The court observed that it is unfortunate that Karachi, which was once the capital of Pakistan and jewel of the country, is no more a city of lights as being portrayed by the city administration nor was this the city of gardens. The court observed that there was on all roads, kacha or pacca, dirt, filth, heaps of garbage, sewerage water, defaced walls with incomplete and unpainted ghostly haunted structures, ruined buildings in state of imminent collapse, stray dogs menace, no fumigation for the city to rid itself from dangerous life-threatening germs and mosquitoes.

The court observed that employees sitting in these agencies have created their own personal interests and thus their very utility in these agencies has become questionable.

The court directed the government of Sindh, especially chief minister Sindh, to go into all these matters and to take proper action for remedying this state of affairs. The court expected that the CM would sit with all agencies of the city and also the mayor to resolve these and other issues facing the city and such would be done with absolute promptness for that the situation was worsening day by day.

The court observed that there was likely that further mess will come up before the court as all sorts of illegal activities have been allowed to be conducted by encroaching government parks, amenity lands meant for education, hospital and graveyards and constructions have been made all over without taking into consideration the very viability, permissibility, suitability or legality of such construction at the place where they have been raised.

The court observed that no city planner and developer or proper architect, engineer and environmental agencies were involved in such work and everything was going on through the hands of the people who were not at all qualified to undertake the same.

The court observed that there were so many Katchi abadies in Karachi and even government quarters are giving the look of slum areas. The court observed that the Sindh government and mayor Karachi ensure that all these places and their inhabitants are properly located in a decent manner as is done in other countries.

The court observed that the mayor Karachi had stated that he has no power to do any work for the city, as all his powers which were originally mentioned in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 through amendments have been taken over by the Sindh government itself and now the Sindh government is running the city itself through its own secretaries,including home secretary who is doing the development work of Karachi although the rules of business do not provide for any such work being done by the secretary home.

The court observed that it is strange that secretaries of the Sindh government who were supposed to look after the entire Sindh province have been allowed to work for the development of Karachi. The court observed that none of the government officials informed that such activity of secretaries of the Sindh government was legal and proper activity permissible by the law.

The court directed the chief secretary to file a report explaining as to why the local government of Karachi has been made functionless and is not prepared to take responsibility in respect of any of the development works in the city.

The court observed that Director General Karachi Development Authority was unfortunately not aware much about his own work and thus has not been able to give any assistance to the court to various questions asked from him.

The court directed the DG Rangers and IGP Sindh to appear before the court and file reports ensuring that footpaths of roads are not used for any sort of construction observing that no footpath can be occupied by any entity, including entities working for social purposes and all these occupations are to be removed, including hospitals. The court directed the KMC to ensure that proper bridges for pedestrians are constructed all over the city for the safe crossing of roads besides zebra crossings, roads lines and other road requirements. The court directed the CM to implement the order of the court and submit compliance report.

Regarding execution of Green Line Bus project by the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company, the court observed that development of infrastructure in the city of Karachi was the basic job of local government and it is not known as how and for what purpose such company has been incorporated by the federal government.

The court observed that it has been stated that no approval of the city government has been obtained for planning, development and maintaining of the Green Line nor any traffic engineering aspect of it has been examined and approved by the KMC. The court observed it seems to be a serious issue which needs to be addressed by the relevant parties in order to ensure that whatever work was done in the city of Karachi is in accordance with the law and not against the mandate of the law as the work done against the mandate of law is liable to have serious effects and consequences.

The court directed commissioner Karachi to obtain proper opinion from building experts and engineers for using the 40-year-old under-construction building near the PIDC, which was going to be used for the purpose of commodity exchange. The court observed that fair and independent opinion in this regard be obtained from the Pakistan Engineering Council for if the building is not habitable, then it should not be allowed to be inhabited for life of people will be in serious danger.

The court directed chief secretary, commissioner Karachi, KMC, DG KDA, SBCA, MDaA, LDA to submit reports regarding removal of encroachments from the government lands, parks, playgrounds and all other amenity lands.

The court directed chairman Karachi Port Trust to submit a report that all port lands are being used for port purposes and in accordance with the KPT Act and no land of the port is either sold, transferred, leased to any person or its employee and whatever allotment, lease or transfer has taken place to immediately cancel and revert back the same to the port. The court directed chairman KPT to ensure plantation of mangroves on both sides of Mai Kolachi Road and flow of sea water restored touching the Bath Island area.

The court also directed the administrator DHA to remove encroachments from open plots and submit compliance report. The court directed chief executive officer of Pakistan International Airlines to ensure that all lands allotted to PIA for its own use are not exploited commercially and submit a detailed report about the land allotted to the PIA.

Regarding the operation of circular railways, the court directed secretary railways to remove all encroachments from the railways land within two weeks and thereafter the Sindh government will take over the circular railways projects and run the circular railways/local trains within one month.

The court directed that mayor Karachi, commissioner Karachi and chief minister Sindh shall ensure that schedule of operation of circular railway service be made available to the people. The court observed that affected persons were to be settled by the provincial government by providing them all basic amenities.

The court also issued a contempt of court notice to local bodies minister Saeed Ghani on the application of Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, who sought action against the local bodies minister for his reported statement in which he said that he will not allow demolition of unauthorized buildings under the court orders, rather prefer to tender his resignation.

The court directed the secretary defence to comply with the court orders and remove all commercial activities from cantonment board lands expeditiously and submit a detailed report by the next session.

The court took an exception to the performance of the Sindh Building Control Authority and Karachi Development Authority and inquired from DG SBCA as how the multistoried buildings have been constructed at Dehli Colony, TNT Colony and Punjab Colony in violation of the building bylaws.

The court directed the DG SBCA to submit master plans of the city since 1952 along with amendments as to how many amenities areas were converted for commercial and residential purposes. The DG SBCA submitted that the ongoing operation against unauthorized construction was slowed down due to the provincial government’s decision, which first wanted to rehabilitate the affected persons of unauthorized construction.

Taking notice over the transfer of Civil Aviation Authority’s plot to a private school, the court directed DG CAA to file comments as to why the land allocated to the CAA for purpose of a sport complex was given to private educational institute for imparting education on commercial basis.

Regarding unauthorized constructions at Kidney Hill and Hill Park areas, the court directed the commissioner to examine each and every case of the lease holders after issuing them notice and developed parks on modern lines to provide facilities to the citizens of Karachi.

The court also stayed construction of a multistory building adjacent to the Aladdin Park, which is stated to being constructed on horticulture land, and directed the DG SBCA to submit the compliance report. The court directed the cantonment board, Karachi, to demolish the Sea Breeze Plaza situated in the Saddar area.

The court directed the DG KDA and civic agencies to ensure compliance of court order with regard to removal of encroachments at the YMCA Ground, Muslim Gymkhana and Hindu Gymkhana. The court directed the provincial government to provide alternate space to the National Academy of Performing Arts and shift the office of NAPA from Hindu Gymkhana.

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