KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the commissioner Karachi to complete the demolition process of Nasla Tower within one week. Hearing the matter with regard to the demolition of Nasla Tower, the SC’s three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, inquired from the commissioner Karachi about the demolition of Nasla Tower.
The commissioner Karachi submitted a progress report with regard to the demolition of the building along with photographs. He submitted that a demolition exercise was being carried out under the supervision of qualified engineers of the Sindh Building Control Authority and 200 persons had been engaged in the demolition exercise.
The court directed the commissioner Karachi to increase the work force to 400 for demolition purposes and submit a compliance report.
The court turned down Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Ameer Hafiz Naeemur Rehman’s plea to intervene in the Nasla Tower demolition case. He submitted that the court should halt the operation till compensation was given to the affectees of the tower.
The court questioned the interest of the JI Ameer in the mater and observed that he could not be allowed to do politics in the court. The court warned him from issuing contempt of court notice for interfering in the court proceedings and asked him to leave the court room.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the owner of the building had been directed to pay compensation to the affected allotees of Nasla Tower. Hearing an application with regard to the allotment of amenity plots to private persons at the Tipu Sultan Road area and construction of a high rise building at a public park, the chief justice observed that the city of Karachi has been turned into a junk of commercialisation.
The court observed that everybody has made investment in property business whether it is black or white money and factories have been closed. The court observed that majority of black economy was running in the country. It observed that conversion of amenity plots into residential and private purpose was a serious offence.
The court directed the secretary works to file a comprehensive report with regard to status of two amenity plots measuring 11,660 square yards area and submit the original master plan. The court also directed the secretary works to submit a report with regard to status of 3,320 square yards amenity plot at Bahadur Yar Jang Cooperative Housing Society. The applicant submitted that despite restraining order of the court, a multi-storeyed building has been constructed at the public park and the owner had allowed some owners to run shops in the building. The counsel of the petitioner submitted that the amenity plot has been bifurcated into three plots and a high rise building Al-Bari Tower has been constructed on it.
The counsel of the builder opposed the application and requested time to file relevant documents to prove the right of the builder for construction of the building. The court directed the counsel to file their respective responses and ordered that no third party interest shall be created on the subject property and the commercial activities, if any being conducted, shall be discontinued till the next date of hearing.
Regarding the establishment of K-Electric grid station in the PECHS greenbelt area, the court directed the secretary works to submit the original mater plan of the PECHS area to verify the status of the land. The KE counsel submitted that the grid station was not established on the greenbelt but on an open space. The court also took an exception to affairs of PECHS with regard to allotment of amenity plots to private persons for construction of houses.
Meanwhile, tension prevailed on Friday after a protest by builders and affectees of the Nasla Tower turned violent and attempted to stop the demolition work of the Nasla Tower, following the orders by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed to demolish Nasla Tower within a week.
Police and Rangers used batons against the protesters and fire teargas shells to disperse them. A large number of builders and affectees gathered outside the Nasla Tower on the main Sharae Faisal as a protest call was given a day ago by the Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) Chairman Mohsin Shaikhani.
The protesters attempted to stop the demolition work of the Nasla Tower. Following their protest, vehicular traffic was suspended on the road leading towards Sharae Liaquat from Sharae Faisal while the service road was also closed for the traffic.
The protesters then attempted to move towards the Sharae Faisal, upon which, a scuffle between the law enforcers and the protesters took place, causing stampede and panic. However, the law enforcers then started charging the protesters with batons and used teargas shells as well, causing vehicular suspension on the Sharae Faisal.
Several protesters, including the deputy chairman ABAD, were reportedly wounded during the baton charge. During the baton charge, the ABAD chairman attempted to talk with the media but the law enforcers did not allow him. The protesters again started a protest and attempted to move towards the Sharae Faisal. However, the police and Rangers once again stopped them.
Later, the vehicular traffic was restored on Sharae Faisal. The ABAD chairman, while talking to the media, said: "We are being treated like terrorists. We want that responsibility should be on those institutions which provided NOCs for the project,” he said adding “We are not being allowed to stage a protest.”
According to Karachi Police spokesperson, the police attempted to stop the protesters from blocking the Sharae Faisal, adding several attempts were made by the police to resolve the issue with dialogue. The protesters were charged after they blocked the road and interfered in the government work. The main artery was restored later. The spokesperson said that the affectees of the Nasla Tower were allotted a separate space for protest, advising them to keep away from Nasla Tower.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said he had taken up the issue of Nasla Tower before the chief justice of Pakistan at the Karachi Registry here on Friday.
Talking to the media outside the SC’s Registry after the hearing, Rehman said: “I asked the apex court at least five times to ensure compensation for the affectees of Nasla Tower.” The JI leader made it clear that the Nasla Tower decision by the court came as a result of a suo motu and not the petition by former city nazim and JI leader late Naimatullah Khan.
He said that former mayor Naimatullah Khan had filed a case regarding encroachments on parks and amenity plots by the people belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan People's Party and other political parties.
Rehman said that the JI is against any form of encroachment and illegal constructions in the city. However, he said, the party would fight for the rights of buyers who had invested their lifelong savings after cross-checking by the then-state institutions that the projects were quite legal at that time. He said that the real culprits — the builders, the officials who issued No Objection Certificates to the projects —should be held accountable to fulfill the requirements of justice.
The JI leader said that unfortunately in the case of Nasla Tower, all those responsible were practically spared and the end users were targeted. The JI would not spare the issue and will become a party in the case and legal procedure will be initiated soon in this regard, he said.
He highlighted that the court had constituted a bench on the deadliest tragedy of May 12 but it was time barred due to no activity on the issue. Meanwhile, Pak Sarzameen Party chief Syed Mustafa Kamal said that victims of Nasla Tower are being ruined without paying any compensation. “Just as the Nasla Tower is being smashed with bombs and hammers, the Sindh Building Control Authority must also be smashed with bombs and hammers,” said Kamal, while talking to the media outside the NAB courts. “By doing so, all illegal constructions will cease throughout the city.”
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