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April 9, 2021

SC orders removal of marriage halls from residential areas of Karachi

Top Story

April 9, 2021

File photo.

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that the Revenue Department, Sindh Building Control Authority and sub-registrars’ offices in Karachi have become places for minting billions of rupees.

Hearing the petitions against illegal encroachments on public parks and amenity plots in Karachi, the Supreme Court’s three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, took an exception to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for not taking proper action for remedying the state of affairs of Karachi despite the court’s direction.

The court observed that the Sindh chief minister was directed to submit a report with regard to steps being taken to improve the state of affairs in Karachi as there was total collapse of all civic agencies in the city, however, the CM’s report gave a clean chit to the Board of Revenue, SBCA and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board by stating that “all is well” in these departments.

The court observed that the Sindh Building Control Authority was acting on behalf of the builders and they could allow construction of buildings even at the Chief Minister’s House and the Supreme Court building’s premises.

The court observed that the SBCA and sub-registrars offices in the city have become top places for minting money and billions of rupees were accumulated by these departments.

The court took an exception to the construction of a high rise building at Shahra-e-Faisal near the Sindhi Muslim Housing Society by encroaching the service road and inquired the SCBA director general as to how a multi-storey building was allowed to be constructed on manipulated and bogus documents.

The court observed that some other persons were involved in running the affairs of SBCA behind the scene and the role of the DG SBCA was nothing but a rubber stamp. The court observed that the DG SBCA should realise that all of his negligent acts with regard to grant of unauthorised construction will lead to the registration of National Accountability Bureau’s cases. The court observed that it was high time that the government’s high ranking officers should raise eyebrows as what was going on in the city.

The court also directed the commissioner Karachi to remove all marriage halls in residential areas irrespective of any jurisdiction and submit a compliance report. The court was informed that 158 marriage halls on amenity lands have been removed.

The court directed the counsel of marriage halls in the Korangi area to argue as to how the status of residential land could be converted to commercial purposes under the Sindh Building by-laws.

The court also took an exception to the conduct of commissioner Karachi in filing of compliance reports on the court orders and ordered the Sindh government to replace the commissioner with some capable officer, who had knowledge of affairs of Karachi.

The court was informed that illegal structures have been removed from Bagh-e-Ibn Qasim and the YMCA grounds. The court directed the commissioner to restore the park and playground in Bagh-e-Ibne Qasim and YMCA and submit a report in this regard.

The chief justice expressed his surprise over the appointment of Mukhtiarkar Ferozabad in district East by the Sindh Revenue Department for looking after the land records relating to the federal government and observed that he learnt for the first time that a Mukhtiarkar of the Revenue Department has been operating for the land relating to the federal territory. The court observed that it could be expected that there will be appointment of Mukthiarkar for looking after the DHA land.

The advocate general Sindh tried to defend the appointment of Mukhtiarkar under the Land Revenue Law for mutation of the land. The court observed that the advocate general was trying to defend the law, which does not apply on the federal territory land.

The court observed that nobody knows what was going on in the city and what was height of difficulties being faced by citizens when the court itself faced difficulties in sorting out issues. The court directed the advocate general Sindh, SBCA to file a report with regard to the grant of approval of multi-storey building on encroached service road in the area as well as role of BOR’s Mukhtiarkar in land relating to the federal territory.

Regarding the operation of the Karachi Circular Railways, the court directed the Frontier Works Organisation to complete the underpasses and flyover for smooth running of the Karachi Circular Railways within nine months. The court was informed by the secretary Railways that the circular railways has been operating on 30-kilometer track from Pipri to Orangi Town while the remaining service will be operational after the completion of underpasses at 14 different places for smooth running of KCR.

The secretary transport submitted that the provincial government has released Rs25 million to the FWO for pre-design feasibility of underpasses and a meeting was also scheduled on April 10 for giving a go head to the construction of underpasses and overhead bridges.

The representative of the FWO submitted that the organisation will try to complete the project within the timeline given by the Supreme Court and in any case the FWO will handover the construction projects to Pakistan Railways within nine months. The advocate general, Sindh, submitted that the Sindh government will undertake timely fencing of the KCR tracks.