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KMC gets down to business to remove over 1,000 illegal shops from Karachi’s Saddar

The authorities began an anti-encroachment drive at 7am on Sunday morning

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 11, 2018 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Nov 11, 2018 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Come hell or high water, the KMC seems determined to remove encroachments from Karachi’s Saddar. It began its latest anti-encroachment drive at 7am on Sunday.

The metropolitan corporation’s teams have been working to clear Empress Market and its surrounding areas of encroachments.

With the help of heavy machinery, over 1,000 illegal shops will be dismantled today, according to its officials.

Related: You have to see it to believe it: Before and after shots of Karachi’s Saddar

The police and Rangers are accompanying the KMC teams to avoid any unpleasant incidents.

The KMC has been working to remove encroachments from Saddar for the past week on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Bashir Siddiqui, deputy director of KMC’s Anti-Encroachment Cell, said 50 years ago, Empress Market was surrounded by parks. We will restore it to its original state, he said.

Related: Anti-encroachment operation in Karachi’s Saddar enters its fourth day

He said they plan to dismantle over 1,000 shops in around two to three hours. In 15 days, Empress Market will start looking like it used to, said Siddiqui.

He said that this drive is the result of multiple agencies cooperating with each other. The shopkeepers are also cooperating with us, he said.

According to him, 90% of the shopkeepers have removed their merchandise. The Supreme Court gave us the task of removing encroachments from Saddar and today we’re completing that task, he said.

We don’t want to end anyone’s business, but these were illegal encroachments, said Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar. Speaking to the media in Saddar on Sunday morning, he said these buildings are our heritage, this is our property and this our city’s beauty.

Related: Karachi’s anti-encroachment operation comes to a screeching halt on the fifth day

The leases given in the past were wrong, even if they were given by the KMC, Akhtar explained, adding that these were encroachments, not settlements.

Be it Liaquatabad, Azizabad, Orangi or Korangi, we will remove all encroachments from the city and restore Karachi to its original glory, he said.

This drive is to facilitate the people of Karachi, he added.

In response to a question about PTI MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman's opposition to the drive and some comments he made, the mayor said he hasn’t learnt what to when say yet. Give him time, he added.

He said the prime minister had himself told him to remove encroachments from Karachi.

Roads around Empress Market have been closed for the public. Traffic has been blocked at Preedy Chowk, Shalimar Chowk, Saddar Dawa Khana Road, Lucky Star, Daudpota Road, CIA Chowk, Mansfield Street, Gull Plaza and Capri.

Some of the shops caught fire at around 12pm. The fire brigade arrived at the scene to put out the flames.
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