KARACHI: The Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) has announced to halt all construction projects in Karachi amid uncertainty over the future of the housing schemes after the demolition of Nasla Tower.
The ABAD issued a statement and put front-page advertisements in Friday’s newspapers to announce the shutdown. ABAD Chairman Mohsin Sheikhani said buildings were declared illegal despite the fact that all the relevant documents and NOCs were duly obtained from government agencies. He said builders were worried that their buildings could be demolished in the future.
He added that the builders would have to restore confidence of common man and satisfy the investors. “We are stopping all the projects in protest,” he said. Sheikhani said the situation has left builders and investors in shock and they fear that all of their buildings would be demolished.
“We need to satisfy our investors. Tell us from which institution should we obtain the NOCs so that another institution does not challenge that authorization,” he said in the statement.
He said that there were 300 approved construction projects in Karachi and the average cost of a project was Rs3 billion or more. Besides, he said, more than 70 sub-sectors, including steel, cement, bricks, electricity, plumbing and gravel, were also associated with this sector.
ABAD chairman further said that the construction sector provides employment to millions of people and expressed fear that they could be rendered unemployed if the work in the construction sector was stopped.
The newspaper advertisement presented a similar argument and claimed that “legal approval of concerned authorities are being deniend” and “legally approved buildings are ordered to be demolished.”
Sheikhani said the responsibility of examining the NOCs lied with the government. He said in the next phase the protest would be expanded to Hyderabad, Sukkur and other cities of Pakistan.
The ABAD chairman said investors had lost trust as regularized buildings were ordered to be demolished. “Institutions should review their decision,” he added.
He said that it was the responsibility of the federal and provincial governments to address judicial concerns regarding construction, adding that the attorney general for Pakistan could contact the court to resolve the matter.
Sheikhani added that the overseas Pakistanis had heavily invested in the construction sector in Karachi. He said in the current situation, the builders and developers were reluctant to repose confidence in the construction projects even if those were approved by the agencies concerned.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the demolition of the Nasla Tower after it found that the buildings had been constructed on encroached land including a service road. The builder who launched the project a few years ago was a member of the ABAD.
The Nasla Tower is being demolished on the orders from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which on Wednesday admonished Karachi Commission Iqbal Memon for failure to execute its verdict. Memon started the work immediately and now a hollowed-out structure is left on the site.