Thursday January 20, 2022

Nasla Tower issue one that extends to all of Karachi, ABAD chairman says

ABAD chairman demands govt develop a one-window facility for the process of granting permissions

By Web Desk
November 27, 2021

KARACHI:  Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) Chairman Mohsin Shaikhani on Saturday said the issue of Nasla Tower is as much an issue for the whole of Karachi as it is for us.

A day earlier,  following the apex court's directives that the demolition work be completed within a week, the association had called for a strike by the construction sector to protest the Supreme Court's orders for the demolition of the tower. 

During the protest as demonstrators advanced on to Shahrah-e-Faisal, the police baton-charged them, also tossing teargas shells their way.

"Are we terrorists that we were charged with batons?" the ABAD chairman questioned addressing a press conference in the city today.

The chairman highlighted that the Sindh government had assured the association that regularisation would take place, however, yesterday Sindh Assembly passed the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2021, but the relevant resolution was not passed.

"Buildings are being constructed across the city without proper plans but we cannot even hold a protest?" he asked.

"Even today, 700 buildings are still under construction. No one is concerned (about whether or not due process is followed)," Shaikhani underlined, adding that no building is constructed in a single day.

"Is it not the responsibility of institutions to check all matters beforehand?" he asked.

Shedding light on the association's demands, the chairman stated that ABAD wants the government to develop a one-window facility for the process of granting permissions.

He decried the "parallel" legal systems operating in the country. "No country should have two sets of laws."

Speaking of the Nasla Tower demolition, he said demolition orders were given five years after the construction of the building. He questioned how people will invest after this.

Shaikhani highlighted that 17 NOCs are required to construct a building. He said there is more focus on demolition and less on compensating the affectees.

The ABAD chairman demanded the government create an institution "that will not bother anyone after the approval of an NOC".

He stated that 300 construction plans are still pending approval in Karachi after many years.

Shaikhani appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the army chief and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to resolve all the issues the sector faces.

He said that the Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon is concerned solely about "saving his job" and that Governor Sindh Imran Ismail and Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah "are not bothered about anyone".

The ABAD chief warned that "work will be stopped everywhere where the documentation is not accepted".

He said that foreign investors will not invest in Pakistan if work is not allowed to progress.

'Problem arose due to the people who gave permission'

Speaking on the occasion, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) Chairman Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo said that in Nasla Tower's case the people who granted the 17 NOCs should be arrested.

"This problem arose due to the people who gave permission (for construction)," he said, highlighting that the federation is facing difficulty in getting permission to construct its building in Islamabad.

Maggo suggested that the association of builders form a committee to hear complaints from people.

Endorsing his views, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President said that NOCs are immediately available in other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Saylani Trust's Maulana Bashir Ahmed Farooqui appealed to the chief justice to stop the machine work being carried out for the demolition of Nasla Tower.

"This is not contempt of court, we are only requesting authorities to act," he clarified.

"Aren't buildings in other parts of the country regularised?" he asked.

MQM leader appeals for justice from the Supreme Court

Speaking at the press conference, MQM leader Faisal Sabzwari said that in the case of Nasla Tower, property was bought and sold through banks after the NOC was considered.

"If the Sindh government wanted, it could have regularised Nasla Tower in one fell swoop," he said, suggesting that the government "intervene and not allow utility connections to be cut anywhere".

Sabzwari appealed for justice from the Supreme Court.

He said that encroachments in Orangi Town and Gujjar Nalla were illegal, however, the responsibility of providing shelter lies with the state.

"How will anybody trust the NOC from onwards? the MQM leader questioned.

"A suo motu notice should be taken and a full bench should be formed in this regard," he said.