Saturday October 16, 2021

Despite getting billions: Shame on Sindh govt, must quit if can’t serve, says SC

The Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Wednesday expressing disappointment over the lack of cleanliness and proper infrastructure in Karachi, observed that the city has been turned into a piteous and miserable situation.

September 23, 2021

KARACHI: The Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Wednesday expressing disappointment over the lack of cleanliness and proper infrastructure in Karachi that has turned the city into a giant heap of garbage, observed that government should be ashamed that despite getting billions of rupees in funds it complaints of not having any funds at all, and the city without any proper infrastructure, open spaces, broken roads and dangling electricity wires has been turned into a piteous and miserable situation.

The Chief Justice observed that the government should let other people serve the city if it could not provide any relief. Inquiring from the advocate general Sindh if this was the way to run the government, the court observed that political disputes should not come in the way to resolve the problems of the people.

Earlier, hearing applications about removal of encroachments from Gujjar and Orangi Town drains, the Supreme Court’s three member bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed took serious exception over statement of Advocate General Sindh that rehabilitation of those displaced by the removal of encroachments form Gujjar and Orangi Town drains was not possible due to lack of budgeted financial resources. The Supreme Court directed chief minister Sindh to ensure that affectees of the Gujjar and Orangi Town drains are rehabilitated properly with all present day amenities.

Earlier, the Advocate General Sindh Salman Talibuddin drew the ire of the bench when he submitted that the Sindh government does not have enough financial resources for their rehabilitation and requested the court to release Rs. 10 billion to Sindh government from the amount being deposited in Bahria Town case. The court observed that the amount has nothing to do with the Sindh government which allowed the land to be sold at throwaway price and its fate will be decided by the SC’s implementation bench.

Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan submitted that there were specific directions about utilization of such money by the implementation bench and certain other solutions for rehabilitation of the affectees could be adopted. The court observed that how could advocate general Sindh give such a statement that Sindh government has not enough resources despite obtaining billions of rupees loans from World Bank and other international financial institutions and having its own resources after the 18 th Amendment. The court observed that it is failure of the Sindh government that it has not enough resources to rehabilitate the affectees and asked the advocate general Sindh to accommodate them at Governor House, CM House and Sindh Assembly till arrangements were made for their rehabilitation. The court observed that rehabilitation was the responsibility of the Sindh government and directed CM Sindh to ensure that within one year. The court asked CM to submit the interim report within two weeks on implementation of the court directives. The bench also inquired the advocate general Sindh on action taken against government officials responsible for allowing encroachments on the amenity land.

While hearing the review application against demolition order of Nasla tower, situated at Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Housing Society, the court dismissed the application and directed commissioner Karachi to complete demolition of the building within one month.

The applicant's counsel Munir A Malik argued that there was no encroachment on service roads by the builder and the opinion of the commissioner was not supported by documents. He submitted that the question of lease of SMCHS land was pending in the high court and possession of the property was protected under Transfer of Property Act. He submitted that 23 other plots were similarly allotted additional land by the SMCHS and the federal government was given the payment in line with the market value. He requested the court to review its order by issuing notice to the SMCHS and KMC to submit their layout plans.

The court observed that arguments of the counsel could not be accepted as the certificates and letters issued by SMCHS establish that the plot where Nasla Tower was built stood enhanced and the lease instrument stood modified/amended. The court, for reason to be recorded later on, dismissed the review applications.

Taking notice over allotment of amenity plots in Clifton area to private hospitals, the court issued notices to them for being allowed to operate on amenity plots and why should not they be removed. The court issued notices to KDA, KMC, cantonment boards, municipal commissioner and others and directed them to file statements about allotment of ST plots in their respective jurisdictions and how the amenity plots were being utilized.

The counsel for Ziauddin Hospital, Anwar Mansoor Khan, submitted that the hospital was functioning on a non-profit basis. He said 72 private hospitals were allotted ST plots in the city. The court inquired of the counsel if people were being provided treatment free of cost and how many were provided free treatment during the last year. The court directed counsel to file reply on application on encroachment of service roads by the hospital in Clifton for hospital parking.

Regarding demolition work at Aladin Park's shops and Pavilion Club, the commissioner Karachi submitted that demolition had been completed and debris was being removed. He requested the court to direct the Sindh government to assist the local government in removing the debris. He submitted that the government will start construction of the amusement park as soon as the funds are issued. The court directed the commissioner to ensure its protection from encroachment and, only a park is developed on the land.

On an application about encroachment on land for educational institutions in Jacobabad allegedly by the Pakistan PPP leaders including Advisor to CM Aijaz Jakhrani and MPA Aslam Abro, the court directed the DC Jacobabad to demolish the unauthorized construction and submit compliance report.

The applicant submitted that PPP leaders were utilizing the land for residential and commercial purposes. The court directed PPP MPA Riaz Jakhrani and other respondents to file replies on allegations. The court also took exception over the conduct of SP Jacobabad for making false statements about his health condition to justify his absence at the last hearing. The court first called for an explanation from SP over his false statement. However later it withdrew the explanation on request of the advocate general Sindh warning SP to be careful in the future.