KARACHI: Supreme Court on Tuesday summoned Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday and instructed him to ensure the removal of all encroachments in the city and submit a report within one month.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed was hearing a case pertaining to the removal of illegal encroachments in Karachi at the apex court’s Karachi Registry.
The chief justice was dismayed over the failure to present a report on the anti-encroachment drive in the port city. He summoned the chief minister, advocate general, secretary local government, and Karachi commissioner.
Addressing the city’s commissioner, the chief justice sought an update on compliance with the court’s directives. Karachi Commissioner Naveed Ahmed Shaikh replied that he was newly appointed. The top judge expressed displeasure over his unpreparedness and observed that he should have done his homework.
“Shall we frame charges against you and send you to jail as you are unaware of the issues this city faces.?” said the chief justice, adding that the case was ongoing for four years but there were no results. “A multi-storey building is built on a single permit. The government lands are out of your hands.”
Chief Minister Sindh appeared before the bench accompanied by Murtaza Wahab and provincial minister for local government Nasir Shah and sought two weeks time to submit a report.
During the hearing, the chief minister informed the judges that the provincial government cleared the city’s footpaths of illegal encroachments. He said they have removed containers placed outside the CM House for his security.
He added that the Karachi Mayor had the authority to remove encroachments but did not act upon them. He said the Sindh government complied with the court order with the provincial cabinet’s approval.
The chief justice observed the ground realities were different than the claims of the chief minister. “What steps have you taken for Karachi’s betterment and its restoration to its original condition?” he asked. “The entire city has turned into a village dwelling,” the judge remarked. “There is neither any water, parks, grounds, nor roads. There is nothing.”
The chief minister said the government laid sewerage lines from Shaheed-e-Millat Road to Tariq Road and built University Road and is carrying out plantation and expanding roads.
He sought more time to implement the court’s order. The court gave the chief minister one month to submit a report before adjourning the case.