As a continuation of its drive against encroachments, the Supreme Court’s monitoring bench on the implementation of its orders regarding the anti-encroachment operation has ordered the removal of all commercial activities from military land in Karachi.
During a meeting at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry on Saturday, the bench ordered that all businesses on military land in Karachi should be removed. It has also ordered that the Karachi Master Plan Department be taken back from the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA).
The meeting continued for 3.5 hours and was attended by senior officials of the Sindh government, railways department, KMC, SBCA, the military and others.
The bench also directed that all parking on Rashid Minhas Road be removed. Justice Gulzar Ahmed has said that illegal constructions will not be allowed anywhere in the city.
The bench has ordered the immediate demolition of a cinema, Nueplex, built on military land on Rashid Minhas Road as well as several parking areas of restaurants on the road. Tables and chairs set up on the footpaths and in service lanes will also be removed immediately.
Parking areas in front of buildings on Korangi Road will also be removed.
The bench has also ordered the demolition of walls built in front of Dolmen Mall on Sea View Road in Clifton. “Were these walls were constructed to create a separate route for certain people?” asked Justice Ahmed.
The Sindh government complained that other departments aren’t cooperating with it, such as KMC and institutions under its control as well as the police. The court ordered all the relevant departments to cooperate with the Sindh government in this regard.
The SC bench ordered the authorities to continue the operation against encroachments in the city. It has been decided that this land will be cleared, said Justice Ahmed.
It has also ordered that all encroachments from parks in Karachi must be cleared within a week. Charity organisations can’t operate on footpaths anymore either.
It wants the anti-encroachment drive to continue so that the KCR can become functional. The KMC has removed 90% of the encroachments, the municipal commissioner informed the court.
The court had earlier ordered demolition of wedding halls and cinemas constructed on military land.
SAMAA TV Anchorperson Moiz Jaferii explained that this monitoring bench comprises two judges who are from Karachi and who can give orders based on their knowledge of the city. At the last meeting the bench came down hard on encroachments on amenity plots. Justice Ahmed has also previously questioned how land is being called ‘military land’ when it is being sold to the public and businesses. How can you construct a cinema on military land, he had asked.
This is not a verdict, said Jaferii. he said at the last meeting in December, the Rangers were also told that they should stop blocking roads in front of their headquarters in the city, which they agreed to do. Over 50% of land in Karachi is not in the control of civilian agencies, he said. The judge is questioning how this is called military land if there is no military presence on it.
The Nueplex Cinemas spokesperson declined comment saying that they will give a statement after their meeting, which is currently under way in the cinema’s DHA office.
Additional reporting by Roohan Ahmed