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Saturday May 25, 2024

CJP Isa orders sale of Nasla Tower land to compensate affectees

Top court also orders authorities to remove "illegal" barricades outside Sindh Rangers HQ, CM House

By Amin Anwar
April 25, 2024
Nasla Towers demolishing works can be seen in progress on Sharea Faisal in Karachi, December 20, 2021.  — PPI/File
Nasla Tower's demolishing works can be seen in progress on Sharea Faisal in Karachi, December 20, 2021.  — PPI/File

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered authorities concerned to sell the land of Nasla Tower — a multi-storey residential complex in Karachi razed on the directives of former chief justice Gulzar Ahmed in 2021 — to compensate affectees.

Separately, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa headed a three-member bench also ordered to remove barriers from outside various buildings, including Sindh Rangers headquarters, Chief Minister's House and Governor's House and present a report within three days.

"No one is allowed to obstruct the free movement of people [...] Blocking roads and creating obstacles is illegal," CJP Isa said.

The top judge's remarks came as he led a three-member bench, comprising Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, during the hearing of multiple cases including those relating to encroachment and Nasla Tower at the SC Karachi Registry.

At the onset of the hearing today, the chief justice underscored that the federal and provincial governments themselves are encroaching on the lands and directed the authorities to "clear" the roads.

Ordering the attorney general to inform the federal government, the apex court directed the authorities to send a copy of the court order to all concerned institutions, including those relating to security.

"The expenses related to the removal of encroachments should also be collected from the encroachers," CJP Isa said.

Responding to the argument that barricades are raised due to security concerns, the top judge said: "The public continues to be attacked [but] you get to remain safe? What kind of law is this?"

"If you feel too scared, go and sit in a remote area," he added while directing the authorities to abstain from blocking the roads under the pretext of security.

"Why don't you remove encroachments in front of [Sindh] Rangers headquarters?" the CJP said while questioning the law under which Jinnah Court premises were handed over to the Rangers.

"Place the [security] containers inside the Governor House. Why do you put it outside?" the top judge said while stressing that encroachments should be removed even if they are within the premises of the SC itself.

The case was then adjourned till Friday (tomorrow).

Nasla Tower case

Furthermore, the SC also directed the authorities to sell the land and compensate the affectees of Nasla Tower.

The top court headed by then CJP Ahmed had ordered the demolition of the 15-storey residential complex, located at the junction of Shahrae Faisal and Shahrae Quaideen, in June 2021 because the structure was constructed illegally.

Back then, the court had directed the builders to refund the affectees of the residential and commercial units within three months.

Subsequently the apex court then also rejected a petition for review of its decision of the building's demolition.

During the hearing today, the counsel representing the Nasla Tower affectees apprised the court that the builder of the residential complex had in fact died leaving his clients in limbo.

The court then directed the affectees to approach the official assignee with the relevant ownership documents.

Directing the authorities to submit a report on the market value of Nasla Tower land, the court further ordered the publication of an advertisement for the sale of the land followed by the submission of a report of the auction bid as well

The court has also sought a detailed report of the plot adjacent to the now-demolished Nasla Tower along with the details of the builder's heirs.

Issuing notice to the Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Society, the court then adjourned the hearing and gave one month time for the relevant authorities to submit their response in the said case.