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February 12, 2019

Govt won’t raze residential buildings as it could lead to human tragedy, PA told


February 12, 2019

Sindh’s local government minister hopes that the Supreme Court will fully understand the provincial government’s viewpoint that it cannot take any harsh action in the name of anti-encroachment drive in Karachi that can lead to a human tragedy.

“If any action is taken against the buildings where people have been residing, it will create a human tragedy, which we would not like to happen under any circumstances,” said Saeed Ghani in the Sindh Assembly on Monday.

The LG minister gave these statements while summing up a discussion in the House on an adjournment motion of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal legislator Syed Abdul Rasheed regarding the actions being carried out across the metropolis under the anti-encroachment drive on the orders of the country’s top court.

Ghani said that the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) or any civic agency in the city will not participate in any action related to the anti-encroachment drive if it leads to the demolition of the buildings where people are residing.

He said that shops have already been demolished in the city as part of the anti-encroachment drive, but the government will not go for the demolition of structures where people are living.

“Our government cannot go for an action that will render people homeless, as we simply can’t afford it. Believe me, people will not shower us with flower petals if we try to demolish their homes, as they will definitely resist such a move and this can become a law and order situation. No government will opt for such an action.”

The minister said that a similar apprehension had turned true last year after the federal authorities used police force to launch the action to evict the residents of the Pakistan Quarters in Karachi.

He added that the incident resulted in a serious law and order situation to the extent that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and then CJP Mian Saqib Nisar had to intervene to prevent a flare-up of violence.

“If the authorities concerned were unable to handle the situation of the Pakistan Quarters, just imagine the magnitude of the repercussions that can result from the proposed action of demolishing residential buildings in the city. They would be far more serious and severe, and be uncontrollable,” he said.

“We will put forward our submission before the honourable court in the context of this human tragedy aspect, and we hope that the court will understand our valid point of view on this issue.”

Ghani, however, clarified in the PA that action will continue against all illegal buildings in the metropolis where the construction is yet to be completed or where people have not moved in. “But there is definitely going to be no action against the buildings where people are residing.”

He said that had ample time been given to the provincial government, it would have made much better alternative arrangements for the relocation of the businesses of the people in the city whose shops have recently been demolished during the anti-encroachment drive.

“These alternative arrangements could have been made in this case also, as steps were taken earlier to resettle the people who were displaced due to the construction of the Lyari Expressway.”

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