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Wedding hall owners across Karachi call off their protest after negotiations with Saeed Ghani

They threatened to shut down all wedding halls

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 26, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
Posted: Jan 26, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

The owners of wedding halls across the city have taken back their call to shut down wedding halls in Karachi from Sunday to protest the SBCA’s decision to knock them down. The decision was made after negotiations with Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani. 

The owners had warned that if the SBCA didn't revoke its order to demolish the halls, then no one would be able to get married. They had also said they wouldn't be returning booking fees to the people who were scheduled to get married in their halls.

They staged a protest on University Road for over six hours and tried to get into the SBCA’s office in Civic Centre. They were stopped by security personnel and an emergency has been declared at the office.

Related: SBCA to demolish Karachi’s commercial buildings built on residential plots in three days

The owners had said their protest would continue for as long as it takes.

A caterer, Fahad Memon, told SAMAA TV estimated that on Sunday, around 700 halls have been booked and they stand to lose millions if the weddings are not held.

Rana Raees Ahmed, the president of the wedding hall owner association, told the media that the Sindh government is responsible for this situation, not them.

They will have to answer to the public, he warned. Ahmed said the wedding hall owners constructed their buildings legally, after obtaining NOCs from the SBCA. “Now they’re giving us a day’s notice and saying they’re knocking them down? We won’t stand for this,” he said.

The SBCA announced on Friday that it is issuing notices to the owners of commercial buildings built on residential plots across the city and would be knocking these buildings down in three days even if they had obtained NOCs from it. The authority hasn’t changed its mind, despite the protests, and still plans to begin its operation to knock down these structures on Monday.

Related: I will resign if I’m made to demolish 500 buildings in Karachi, says LG Minister Saeed Ghani

The Supreme Court had ordered on January 22 all commercial activities on residential plots in the city to be stopped.

But wedding hall owners aren't the only ones opposed to the demolition. Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar addressed a press conference on Saturday and said the halls shouldn’t be knocked down. He urged the Supreme Court to revisit its decision.

On Friday, Local Government Minister Ghani said he would resign if he was made to knock down 500 buildings in Karachi, as the Supreme Court wanted. The SBCA is continuing its action even though Ghani, under whose domain the SBCA falls, is opposing it.
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