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August 3, 2017

Top court seeks report on illegal constructions condoned by DHA

Karachi

August 3, 2017

The Karachi registry of the country’s top court has sought a comprehensive report on the illegal constructions condoned by the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and action taken against the officials who allowed them.

The Supreme Court issued the order on Wednesday after hearing a petition against illegally built shops in the parking area of a multi-storeyed building in DHA Phase-V. The two-member SC bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed reminded the DHA of the court’s September 6, 2012 decision to remove illegal shops from the Grace Centre that were constructed with the authority’s approval on the area reserved for parking.

In its order the SC had said that the DHA had no authority to condone illegal constructions in the parking space, and that such power vested with the cantonment board under sections 184 and 185 of the cantonments act.

Section 184 of the cantonments act deals with illegal construction and reconstruction, while Section 185 deals with the power to stop construction or reconstruction or to demolish. The court asked the DHA on Wednesday how it could allow conversion of the land reserved for amenity purposes, and why the decision was not reversed in the past five years despite the SC’s order.

The bench said the Grace Centre conversion was just one case that was brought to the court’s notice, and asked the DHA director how many similar cases were brought to the notice of the authority.

The SC said that neither was the court’s order complied with nor any action taken against the officials who allowed the conversion. The bench also took an exception to the DHA administrator’s no-show, as he was supposed to file a compliance report as regards the court order.

The top court directed the DHA to submit a compliance report after vacating the shops and restoring the area as the intended parking space. It also gave the authority a fortnight to submit a report on the number of similar cases and action taken against the officials responsible for them.  

Manchar Lake toxicity

The SC directed the irrigation secretary to ensure that water from the Indus River flowed into the Manchar Lake to reduce toxicity of the latter water body.

Conducting a hearing on a suo motu case of the lake’s contamination due to discharge of effluents from the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD), the court’s two-member bench directed the irrigation department to resolve the issue of supplying potable water to the locals.

The residents of the area complained that the Indus River’s water was not being allowed to flow into the Manchar Lake to reduce the toxicity level of the latter water body.

They also complained that the reverse-osmosis plants were not functioning properly, because of which they were not receiving potable water.

Sindh Advocate General Zamir Ghumro told the bench that 29 RO plants had been installed at the Manchar Lake to supply potable water to the locals, but only three of the plants were out of order.

Additional Attorney General Salman Talibuddin told the court that the federal government had approved the funds for the RBOD project, and that the Centre would also pay its share in the completion of the RBOD-II project, the work on which would start after the funds were released.