Sindh govt pleads razing millions of houses to create humanitarian disaster

SHC Sukkur Bench transfers matter to Karachi, forms larger bench

By: News Desk      Published: 11:09 AM, 9 Dec, 2020
Sindh govt pleads razing millions of houses to create humanitarian disaster
File photo.

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday accepted a plea filed by the provincial government as it ordered transferring the issue of bulldozing hundreds of thousands of houses established on the land along the Indus River and the canal system from Sukkur to Karachi, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Moreover, the court also directed the formation of a larger bench as the Sindh government pleaded that going ahead with razing the houses would create a humanitarian disaster.

People should not be deprived of the shelter without providing any alternative, the government argued as it challenged the Sindh High Court Sukkur Bench’s orders.

The advocate general, Salman Talibuddin, presented the case on behalf of the Sindh government and informed the court that the Sukkur Bench had ordered to ensure that the possession of the land in question was in the hands of the irrigation department.

But, he stressed, the issue was the millions of people were living in the houses built along the Indus River and the canal system across the province.

Hundreds of thousands of houses had been built on the land owned by the irrigation, agriculture and forest departments, said the advocate general who also noted that the people in Larkana, Hyderabad, Badin and other areas would be affected if the court orders were implemented.

Talibuddin told Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh, who was hearing the matter, that the provincial government was devising a plan to provide alternate land to the affected people.

But in the meantime, he said, the case should be transferred to Karachi along with the formation of a larger bench as the matter was of public interest.

Chief Justice Shaikh accepted the petition and formed a three-member larger bench comprising Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, Justice Shamsuddin Abbasi and Justice Agha Faisal. 

Last month, a Sukkur bench of Sindh High Court comprising Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar and Mehmood A Khan had ordered the authorities concerned to ensure removal of all encroachments from the lands belonging to the irrigation department within a week.

In this connection, the officials and police were directed to even get the assistance of Rangers, if required, to execute the court orders.

The latest orders were passed after the authorities didn’t fully comply with the earlier directions as the two-member bench expressed its resentment over their failure.