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April 17, 2015

Sharjeel won’t ‘bow to pressure’


April 17, 2015

The removal of encroachment from roads, and amenity plots is the main purpose of the drive initiated two months ago by the Sindh local government department headed by minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, who personally spearheads the campaign.
Talking to The News on Thursday, he said the government planned to remove hundreds of encroachments from parks, playgrounds and other amenity plots being used for commercial purposes, especially wedding halls.
“I am personally monitoring the anti-encroachment drive. The campaign against land grabbers, China-cutting experts and ghost employees will not stop,” he said, refusing the allegations that it is biased towards a specific political group.
“I launched the campaign only to clean the city not on anyone’s wishes or anyone’s dictation, and will not accept any pressure to halt it.”
On Monday, the minister supervised the demolition of three wedding halls in Orangi No 5, established on an amenity plot allotted for building a school.
On the occasion, he directed the KMC Administrator Saqib Soomro to cancel the lease of these plots and re-allot them to the KMC for setting up and running the schools.
He said the removal of encroachment from parks, playgrounds and amenity plots was a dream of Karachites but they could not raise a voice against it due to political influence backed by authorities concerned.
“Some officers and employees of civic bodies are collaborating with the mafias and trying to divert the authorities and stop the campaign,” the minister said. However, he claimed that he would not accept pressure from any quarter.
The chief minister has approved a grant of Rs200 million for the ‘cleanliness’ campaign of local government department.
In its previous tenure, the Pakistan People’s Party led provincial government had handed municipal affairs to its coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, and did not interfere in their matters.
However, it has now

decided to establish its own writ in and the anti-encroachment drive seems to be the first step in that direction. During the drive, wedding halls owned by former federal minister and MQM leader Babar Ghauri were demolished along with those of other organisations who had converted amenity plots into commercial set ups. In the next phase, The News learnt, the government planned to fire all ghost employees.

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