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Karachi

December 22, 2017

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‘Remove encroachments, but show consideration for residents’

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) city council passed a unanimous resolution on Thursday to comply with the orders of the country’s top court for removing encroachments, but requested consideration for the people living on occupied properties.

The council appealed to the Sindh High Court, the Supreme Court and the government for just treatment of the citizens residing in houses constructed on encroached lands because “they have spent all their savings on these dwellings”.

Moved by Mohammad Arif Khan Advocate and Hanif Surti, the resolution also pointed out that the residents were provided with official documents of possession of their respective houses as well as issued with utility bills so they should not be rendered homeless.

Presided over by Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, the city council session stressed that marriage halls constructed on KMC lands, especially at parks and on amenity plots, should be vacated at all costs.  

‘Spare the locals’

Arif Khan Advocate said the lower and middle classes were living in constant fear. He appealed to the top court to review its judgment on humanitarian grounds and spare them. Karamullah Waqasi said all the people possessed the relevant legal documents. He stressed that the innocent citizens be exempted and only those responsible for China-cutting be punished. He also requested the SC to take suo motu action against the officials involved.

Amanullah Mubarak also demanded action against the officials involved in China-cutting. He urged that the people living in their houses on occupied lands should not be victimised. Mayor Akhtar suggested that if the people were to be displaced, they be provided with alternative living spaces with the approval of the city council.  

China-cutting

Lashing out at the KMC, Abdul Majeed Khan asked why the council was taking action now and where they were when China-cutting was being carried out all across the city. He claimed that the council was trying to save its own people involved in the illegal practice.

A female council member said that if action was being taken against China-cutting, then there should be action in Sohrab Goth as well, because “establishing Goths across the city also count as China-cutting”.

One of the council members caused a ruckus in the House on saying that the city was being encroached upon by establishing Goths in every part of it, but the mayor intervened, advising against discussing politics and for talking about only encroachments.  

KMC to petition

The mayor ordered that a committee be formed to approach the top court to review the issue of residential houses and that the KMC body also file a petition in the SC on behalf of the people living on occupied properties.

Akhtar said encroachments at parks and on amenity plots should never be allowed. He ordered forming a committee comprising all stakeholders to resolve the persistent issue of encroachments once and for all.

He also ordered close inspection of the beneficiaries as well as the sufferers of China-cutting all across the city so that a fully fledged campaign could be launched against the practice and encroachments.

Meanwhile, some council members drew the attention of the House towards the deplorable condition of Mauripur Road. The mayor told them that the road’s repair work had been started and a huge difference would be witnessed within two to three months.

Jamal Zaidi also mentioned the terrible situation of garbage in Shah Faisal Colony. The mayor declared that the chairman of each council was duty-bound to respond to every council member.  

Five more resolutions

During Thursday’s session the KMC’s city council unanimously approved five more resolutions, deleted two others from the proceedings and sent one to the relevant department for suggestions.

On a resolution concerning the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB), a committee was formed to apprise the utility’s managing director about the problems of the different union committees.

The mayor said the KWSB chief should brief the city council on how much water was being supplied to the metropolis, adding that it was a serious issue and that every council member was concerned about it.

Another resolution called for computerising all the records of the KMC. A resolution on Sunday’s attack on a church in Quetta expressed condemnation of the incident and solidarity with Christians.

Through another resolution the council condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They demanded that the Pakistani government officially term the decision as prejudiced. A similar resolution called for the Pakistani government and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to condemn Israel.

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