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June 17, 2021

CJ sees plot against Karachi

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday observed that a big conspiracy had been hatched against the people of Karachi and the city has been systematically destroyed.

Hearing applications over lack of computerization of revenue record in the province and encroachments of public parks in Karachi, SC’s three-member bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, directed the Board of Revenue to retrieve all encroached government lands across the province and restore the lands to its original position within three months.

The court also directed the Board of Revenue to complete the computerization of the revenue record. The court inquired senior member Board of Revenue as to why the land record has not been computerized as yet despite the court orders three years ago. He submitted that the entire land record of Sindh was computerized except Thatta district. He sought a further two months' time to complete the exercise. The court directed member Board of Revenue to file a detailed report over computerization of record along with an affidavit, within three months observing that no further time shall be granted. The bench observed that thousands of land disputes were pending before the courts. It observed that the revenue department has become the most corrupt department and the government lands were being allotted as if revenue department’s chairman was a king and Mukhtiarkars were acting as Vazirs and freely manipulating land records.

Expressing astonishment over non-verification of thousands of acres in Karachi and other parts of Sindh, the court observed that land transactions were being made under the archaic Na-class as it helps the revenue department to mint billions of rupees. The court inquired the member Board of Revenue as to why survey of Karachi, Jamshoro and Kirthar was not conducted and when would it complete.

The court questioned the existence of any master plan of Karachi, observing that KDA and KMC have not placed master plan before the court despite repeated directives. The court observed that the revenue department failed to take actions against illegal encroachments as several high rise buildings were constructed in the Malir riverbed and warned the Senior Member Board of Revenue of coercive action if the orders were not complied with. The court termed the revenue department's report an eyewash and observed that all government land from Karachi to Nooriabad was encroached. The court directed the revenue department to retrieve all the government lands from encroachment and demolish all unauthorized constructions there. The bench observed that senior member Board of Revenue has submitted that computerization of land record has been done, but there is disparity between computerized and BoR record and despite that manual revenue record was placed before courts.

Additional Advocate General Khyber Pakhtunkhwa submitted that the first phase of revenue record computerization was completed and the second phase will complete by June 2022. The court observed that the Balochistan government needs to work on land settlement as several mining disputes have arisen due to it. The advocate general Balochistan submitted that 80 percent of land record has been computerized in four districts i.e. Gwadar, Quettta, Jafferabad and Pishin and settlement of land process has been initiated. Regarding the settlement of land, the AG submitted that it was under process and will be completed in the shortest-possible time.

The court directed commissioner Karachi to demolish the high rise building Nasla Tower at Shahrah-e-Faisal near the Sindhi Muslim Housing Society. The court observed that 341 square yards were unlawfully given to the builder by reducing the width of service road and the counsel for the builder failed to provide the additional lease rights of the land. The court also directed the railways counsel to file a statement about departmental lands in Karachi. The court observed that 1,000 square yards bungalows have been constructed on railways land sanctioned for Gillani railway station. The court reserved its order on the issue of construction of underpasses and bridges in different parts of the city for smooth functioning of Karachi Circular Railways after hearing the DG FWO, secretary railways and AG Sindh on the revised design of underpass and elevated bridges.

On applications over encroachments on public parks in Karachi, the Supreme Court directed KMC to demolish unauthorized constructions and register cases against officials involved in their allotments. The court observed that 80pc of KMC employees were not performing duties and the department's performance was exposed in the last monsoon rains. The court observed that cleanliness situation of North Nazimabad was worse than Katchi Abadis. The court asked KMC administrator to hire competent staff and get rid of those using department for personal businesses.

The court observed that over 36,000 amenity sites were encroached in the city, whereas the city's sewerage system had collapsed. The court observed that a conspiracy has been hatched against citizens of Karachi and the city had been destroyed. During hearing of application on allotment of amenity plots in Clifton, the court observed that DG KDA has placed a layout plan of Clifton including details of amenity plots. The court noted that at on ST-4 plot of Clifton, Ziauddin Hospital was operational and South City Hospital was operational at amenity plot at ST-1 plot, Block 3 Clifton, which could not be used for private commercial purposes. The court issued notices to both the owners of the hospitals. The court observed that public parks were converted to commercial use and directed DG KDA to restore all such amenity plots. The court observed that chief minister has no right to allot amenity plot for commercial purpose. The court directed DG KDA and an NGO to submit a comprehensive report on amenity plots allotted to private individuals in Clifton and other parts of Karachi.

Regarding demolition work at Aladin Parks shops and Pavilion End Club, the court directed the commissioner Karachi and KMC to complete the demolition within one week and submit compliance report. The court also ordered not to auction lease of Aladin Park for establishing an amusement park. On K-IV project, the chairman WAPDA submitted that it has completed its viable design and the project will be completed within 22 months. He sought the SC's directions to the federal and provincial governments for clearance of right of way and flow of funds, so that project will be completed within time. The AG and AG Sindh submitted the sought-after assurances.

On an application over encroachment of educational institutions and hospital lands in Jacobabad allegedly by the PPPP’s influential leaders including adviser to CM Aijaz Jakhrani and MPA Aslam Abro, the court directed the commissioner Larkana and DC Jacobabad to ensure that public properties are used only for the specific purposes and submit compliance report. The DC Jacobabad submitted that the hotel built on education institution's land was being demolished. The court also granted the AGP’s request to submit a plan for accommodation of Gujjar and Orangi Town drains affectees.