Senior officers of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s anti-encroachment department have been receiving threatening calls from unidentified numbers.
The backlash comes after KMC’s recent operation at Light House and its adjacent areas against encroachments.
This was disclosed by KMC Anti-encroachment Department Senior Director Bashir Siddiqui. He told SAMAA Digital he was receiving calls from unidentified numbers on his mobile phone, threatening him of dire consequences after the anti-encroachment drive at Lighthouse in Karachi.
“I have informed the top brass of KMC, including the mayor, metropolitan commissioner and deputy mayor, regarding the threatening calls,” the KMC official said.
Siddiqui said that KMC plans to continue its action against encroachments as per the directives of the Supreme Court.
“Around 30 make-shift push carts have been confiscated and four illegal shops have been demolished by the [KMC] staff during its drive at Light House on Monday,” he said.
Overall, 300 push carts and dozens of illegal shops have been razed by the anti-encroachment department since last week.
KMC Deputy Mayor Arshad Hasan has written a letter to the Sindh home secretary and IG seeking foolproof security for two KMC officers – Bashir Siddiqui and Kamran Abbas.
The latter is the anti-encroachment department’s deputy director.
Siddiqui says that the president of the Lighthouse Markets’ Association, Hakeem Shah, is provoking the ‘pathara mafia’ to take action.
He told SAMAA Digital that the displaced shopkeepers and ‘patharay walas’ had shown a parchi (slip) of Rs600 which they gave to Shah monthly.
He said the shopkeepers told KMC staffers that they had given Rs10,000 as an advance to Shah to set up make-shift pushcarts at Lighthouse and other adjacent areas.
The Lighthouse Markets’ Association president rubbished the allegations leveled against him and instead placed blame on KMC and DMC official. He said the employees of KMC and DMCs had connived with senior officials to set up the pushcarts.
Shah said there are around 300 shops and cabins in 26 markets of Light House from where the association collects Rs600 monthly as “maintenance charges”.
The association has nothing to do with the ‘patharay walas’ and is not charging them any money, he claimed.
Last year, KMC conducted an anti-encroachment operation and razed around 400 shops constructed on storm water drains at Lighthouse, Shah said, adding that the displaced shopkeepers then set up pushcarts with the support of KMC and DMC staffers.
“The threatening calls, if any, received the senior director of KMC’s anti-encroachment department were of those elements who were being displaced by the KMC after first allowing them to set shop against a hefty amount of money,” Shah said.