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SC orders removal of all encroachments along Gujjar, Orangi drains

Supreme Court Karachi Registry. Source: FILE/Online

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Monday vacated the stay orders of the Sindh High Court (SHC) against anti-encroachment operations and ordered to complete them at the earliest.

The order was issued by a three-member bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan and Justice Qazi Ameen. The bench was hearing a case on encroachments along the Gujar, Orangi and Mehmoodabad drains at the Karachi registry.

It directed the civic authorities to raze all the illegal structures at the earliest including constructions on fake lease documents in the city. The top court instructed them to raze residential and commercial buildings built with forged lease documents. 

A Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) lawyer informed the court that stay orders were issued on petitions of fake leaseholders. He said the authorities were removing all encroachments along the stormwater drains on the apex court’s directives but the SHC issued stay orders against anti-encroachment operations and was initiating contempt of court proceedings against officials.

CM Sindh summoned

The Supreme Court has summoned Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the Orangi and Gujjar nullahs eviction cases over the delays in the compensation to people who lost their homes through forced evictions at the Orangi and Gujjar drains.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the Sindh attorney general for updates on compensation to be provided to over 6,000 affectees and the progress made so far. The attorney general could not satisfy the court. The chief justice expressed his displeasure and ordered to summon the chief minister at the earliest.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court released a written order in the anti-encroachment case and ordered the authorities to compensate the people whose leased houses were demolished in the drive.

At an earlier hearing on September 23, the top court came down on the Sindh government over delays in the compensation for the people who lost their homes through forced evictions at the Orangi and Gujjar drains.

The court instructed Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to resettle the victims within a year and summoned a report on it, adding that resettling is the state’s responsibility and the provincial government will have to find a way.

After the court order, on October 5, the Sindh CM had announced in a provincial cabinet meeting that the victims of Karachi’s Orangi and Gujjar nullahs will be paid Rs15,000 every month for two years. It was agreed that the evacuees will be given residential units in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme as well.

Sindh Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah briefed in the meeting that 344 houses near the Gujjar nullah and 60 houses and six factories near the Orangi nullah have been demolished in the encroachment drive so far.

Nasir Shah said the government will receive Rs300,000 subsidy from the federal government and provide 30,000 residential units to the victims while the land will be provided by the Sindh government.

Gujjar Orangi, and Mehmoodabad nullahs are two of the three stormwater drains that are being widened to ensure a smooth flow of rainwater.

 

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