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Agencies
December 8, 2018

Residential buildings not being demolished in Karachi: mayor

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A
Agencies
December 8, 2018

KARACHI: Lamenting political point-scoring on the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, the Mayor Karachi, Waseem Akhter, said they would neither demolish any residential building in the megapolis, nor would they let anyone do so.

Akhter said so while speaking at a joint press conference on Friday together with Federal Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and others.

He said the ones, whose shops were demolished, would be compensated. "The chief minister of Sindh and minister for local bodies are on-board, and affected people are being provided with alternative places."

The mayor said the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation will provide 1,000 shops to the affected people through a draw in the first phase.

The Supreme Court on October 27 ordered that encroachments in the metropolis be removed within 15 days, as a bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar heard a case against land mafia in Karachi at the apex court's Karachi Registry. The city has since then seen thousands of shops being demolished.

The Karachi mayor categorically stated: "I will not allow houses of Karachi residents to be razed," Akhter said.

"If someone is to be nabbed, the ones who issued NOCs for [illegal] construction of houses should be held." The Karachi mayor also said the sidewalks are meant for pedestrians, not for running businesses. "We are only clearing the drains, footpaths and parks of encroachments," he said, adding, "A few individuals are doing politics against anti encroachment operation."

Taking his turn, Siddiqui reiterated his party's — Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) — demand to grant authority to the mayor.

He said if political parties are involved in grabbing Karachi lands, the MQM-P would only have one percent role in it. The minister said the Supreme Court mandated the Karachi mayor for clearing encroachments in the megapolis and the mayor fulfilled his responsibilities. He, however, lamented that institutions not working under the mayor were also taking action in the name of operation against illegal occupation of lands.

A KMC report about the ongoing anti-encroachment drive reported that around 7,000 shops, 10,000 sun shades and over 2,000 platforms were razed during the last one month. --Agencies officers and ballot boxes could not reach because of terrorism in Karachi," he said.

"Democracy has been hijacked in the whole world with power and with money. I am requesting you [CEC] and legislators, whatever you have to decide on how the 2023 elections will be held, should be decided beforehand." President Alvi said the use of electronic voting machines, digital identification and cameras would enhance the fairness of elections. He suggested that cameras be installed at all polling stations so the number of voters going to the polling station and the number of votes cast can be crosschecked. "There was also a lot of contradiction on this point at one time when they said 700 went in and 1,400 [votes] came out, and it couldn't be ascertained where the extra 700 came from," he said.

He urged Parliament, the Election Commission of Pakistan, and the government to pay attention to these issues so the post-election controversy can be avoided. He also emphasised on the provision of facilities to disabled voters to cast their ballots. President Alvi said free and fair elections provide the groundwork for democracy and progress of a country, and that voters have an important role in strengthening the democratic values.

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