SC dismisses SHC stay orders in Karachi mega encroachment cases

Orders immediate removal of illegal houses and commercial buildings popped up in city on fake lease deeds | Sindh CM appears before court in Gujjar Nullah affectees’ rehabilitation case

By: News Desk      Published: 12:13 PM, 25 Oct, 2021
SC dismisses SHC stay orders in Karachi mega encroachment cases

The Supreme Court has dismissed all stay orders granted by the Sindh High Court in the city encroachment cases directing the municipal corporation authorities to remove all encroachments from Karachi city. It also summoned Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the rehabilitation case of the Gujjar Nullah affectees, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

A larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmad and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin heard a number of cases including Karachi mega encroachment, Gujjar Nullah, Orangi Nullah and Mehmoodabad encroachment cases, Allah Din Park case, Pavilion and Club case, evacuee property case, illegal occupation of the KDA playgrounds case, commercial use of Civil Aviation Authority land case and Circular Railways restoration case at Karachi Registry on Monday.

The larger bench also heard a petition seeking implementation of the court verdict in the former city Nazim Naimat Ullah case.

Notices have been issued to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah, provincial chief secretary, Karachi commissioner, PIA chairman and chief executives of all Cantonment boards.

While hearing Gujjar Nullah, Orangi Nullah and Mehmoodabad encroachment cases, the Supreme Court set aside all stay orders given by the Sindh High Court. It also ordered to remove all encroachments that popped up in the city on fake lease deeds.

The apex court ruled to bulldoze all houses and commercial buildings built on fake lease documents immediately.

The counsel for Karachi Municipal Corporation told the court that the lease documents on which the SHC granted stay orders were all counterfeit. He informed the court that the KMC wanted to remove all encroachments constructed on the city nullahs. He pleaded to the court that these illegal constructions could only be bulldozed on the orders of the apex court.

He said that the Sindh High Court was hearing stay orders and contempt of court cases.

Everyday, the KMC officials are facing contempt of court cases against them, the KMC lawyer said.

Sindh CM appears before court

During its hearing of the Gujjar Nullah case, Sindh Advocate General Salman Talibuddin presented the Sindh government report regarding the provincial government’s plan for the rehabilitation of the affectees. Dissatisfied by it, the CJP directed the AG to ask Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to appear before the court and apprise it of the government plan.

In compliance with the order, the Sindh CM appeared before the court.

Earlier, CJP Gulzar Ahmad showed his annoyance over the report and gave the advocate general a dressing down. He asked the AG to tell the court what was actual progress and what practical steps had been taken by the government in this regard.

The AG told the bench that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had submitted the report but there were some financial issues which were hindering the project.

Irked by the AG remarks, the CJP asked the AG to ask the Sindh CM to appear before the court and informed it regarding the provincial government’s rehabilitation plan.

The Supreme Court during its previous hearing in the Gujjar Nullah case had ordered the Sindh government to provide an alternative place for the rehabilitation of the affectees and asked Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to present an initial plan in this regard.

In the Aladin Park restoration case, the Supreme Court also directed the authorities to restore the park.

The court had already summoned a progress report from the Karachi commissioner in this regard.

The court had also sought a report from director-general of SBCA on the illegal occupation of welfare plots case.

Sindh CM says rehabilitation plan to be completed in 2 years 

While talking to media persons after his appearance in the Supreme Court, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that the provincial government also wanted to rehabilitate the affectees. He said his government had asked the federal government to give it Rs36 billion, but the latter failed to reply so far. He said it happened for the first time in the history that the provincial government had been given less revenue from the federal government.

He said he assured the court that in two years’ time, the Sindh government would rehabilitate the affectees. He said he told the court about the paucity of funds and officials. 

He said the Sindh government had formulated a programme for the rehabilitation of Gujjar Nullah affectees. It had allocated a land for this purpose on which a residential scheme would be built with a cost of Rs10 billion within two years. 

The CM said he told the court that the money retrieved by the Bahria Town should be given to the Sindh government. He said he hoped that the court would decide on this matter soon adding that the provincial government would provide funds for the scheme from its own budget. 

SC admonishes Karachi administrator 

The CJP admonished Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab over non-implementation of the court order regarding removal of encroachments. He asked the administrator to enlighten the court how the city administration was implementing the court orders. 

The obviously annoyed CJP remarked it’s a different thing to make utterances while sitting on TV and to run a city was a totally different ball game. 

Justice Gulzar asked Mr Wahab what accomplishment he had achieved after becoming the city administrator. On which, Mr Wahab said he had improved the drainage system during rainy season and the provincial capital did not have to confront the crisis-like situation during recent wet spells. 

The CJP rebuked him by saying ‘do not try to become smart and elaborate what actual measures he has taken for the improvement of the city.’ He asked him to submit his reply in black and white to the court.

Court asks CAA not to allow commercial use of its land 

In a separate case pertaining to the commercial use of the Civil Aviation Authority land, the CJP admonished the CAA lawyer for allowing the use of CAA land for holding wedding receptions. He said the CAA’s land was being taken illegally. “Where is the CAA DG,” the justice inquired. 

Justice Gulzar said it was not the job of the CAA to run a business of marriage halls. Rather the CAA should concentrate on its fleet issues and improve its performance, he added. 

The CAA lawyer told the court that the aviation authority needed 209 acres of land for new airport. On which, the CJP remarked that the performance of the aviation authority was not improving, it was dwindling. 

The court summoned the CAA DG on the next hearing, besides seeking a survey report of the land needed for establishing a new airport.

CJP orders KDA to restore park and playground 

While hearing a park restoration case, the apex court ordered the Karachi Development Authority to arrange for the tidying up of a park situated in New Karachi, Sector 5 which has been turned into a rubbish den due to the neglect of the authorities. The CJP said that he had watched the filthy condition of the park on TV and it was disgusting. He ordered the KDA to inspect the park, rehabilitate it and present a report in the court in a month. 

Reporter Bilal Ahmad