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December 6, 2018

To save homes from demolition, Sindh files review petition in SC today

Karachi

December 6, 2018

The Sindh government has prepared its review petition to be filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday (today) in order to prevent the demolition of residential settlements in Karachi as part of the anti-encroachment drive under way on the court’s orders.

A statement issued on Wednesday quoted Information & Law Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab as saying that the government has prepared a comprehensive plan to provide alternative places to the affected shopkeepers by the end of the month. In the first phase some 4,000 shopkeepers will be accommodated, he added.

Wahab said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has shown zero progress on several of its claims, including the one about the construction of five million housing units in the country. On the other hand, he added, the Sindh government has been fully engaged in providing alternatives to people who have been rendered homeless and jobless in the province.

He said the provincial government has already issued necessary guidelines to the Karachi mayor for carrying out the anti-encroachment drive in the city in order to protect the people’s homes. The PTI’s federal government is unnecessarily engaged in taking credit for the halting of the anti-encroachment drive in the city, he added.

The adviser said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and the provincial cabinet in its last meeting had issued directives for the protection of residential settlements across the city so that the anti-encroachment drive would not be conducted there. “The people know very well who wants to make them homeless.”

He said the cabinet has already decided not to extend the anti-encroachment drive to residential areas until the people are provided alternatives places for rehabilitation, so there was no valid cause for the prime minister to order filing another review petition.

The anti-encroachment drive is linked with the PTI because it is being spearheaded by the city mayor, who belongs to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, which is a coalition partner in the Centre, he added.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Governor House said PM Imran Khan will visit Karachi on Sunday, December 9. He will meet industrialists and businessmen to discuss their problems. He will also be briefed on the situation prevailing at the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

The premier’s visit comes after serious reservations were raised by Karachi’s residents, traders, political parties and trade associations about the anti-encroachment drive that has so far razed thousands of shops in the major business centres of the city.

In the next phase the people fear losing their homes, and both the Sindh government of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the PTI’s federal administration are keen on halting the anti-encroachment drive so as to save houses and other residential units and ensure that the locals are not rendered homeless.

The PM has decided to visit the metropolis on the request of Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, who earlier met him in Islamabad to discuss the anti-encroachment drive in Karachi. They also talked about the problems of industrialists and businessmen and other important issues related to the governance of the province.

On the occasion the premier also directed the country’s attorney general to file a review petition in the SC against the anti-encroachment drive under way in the province. The governor said that the people have a lot of expectations from the present administration. He hoped that the steps initiated by the current government for the stability of the country’s economy will create long-lasting effects.

Car showrooms

To comply with the order of the Sindh High Court (SHC) that barred commercial activities on residential plots in the city, the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has issued notices to several businesspersons, including owners of car showrooms, who are operating their businesses on residential plots.

The SBCA warned the owners of such businesses of action in case they did not end their commercial activities on residential plots as ordered by the SHC.

Talking to The News, SBCA Director General (DG) Iftikhar Kaimkhani said the authority, in coordination with the East deputy commissioner, had started a project to deal with the issue of a large number of car showrooms on three roads of the district, Khalid Bin Waleed Road, Allama Iqbal Road and Sir Syed Road.

According to Kaimkhani, owners of the showrooms have been given the option of regularising their showrooms if they are on commercial belt; however, if the showrooms are on residential plots, they will not be permitted. “Let me make it clear that if the road was not commercial, the showroom owners will never be allowed to restart their business as it is a court order,” Kaimkhani said.

Anti-encroachment drive

The anti-encroachment operation continued in the city on Wednesday as roads and footpaths were cleared in various areas and extended and illegal shops demolished. The areas where encroachments were demolished included Mehran Highway, Mobile Market in Korangi No 4, Korangi No 5 and North Karachi Sector L-5.

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