Dismissing the Sindh government’s plea to halt the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi, the Supreme Court (SC) told the provincial authorities that it is their duty to rehabilitate the affectees.
Hearing the case at the SC’s Karachi Registry, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar said that if the operation is halted, it would be difficult to complete the task in the future. “The state cannot bow down to land grabbing mafia,” the CJP said, rejecting the plea to end the operation.
The Sindh government, along with other parties, had filed a petition seeking to stop the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in the port city.
Sindh Advocate General Sindh Salman Taalibuddin raised the concern before the court that razing the shops was causing rise to unemployment. The CJP said that it was the responsibility of the provincial government to provide alternative arrangements for the people affected due to the operation, local media reported.
The CJP further said that the top court had just asked to clear the footpaths and streets around Empress Market, in order for it to be ‘a model’. He said the work had been initiated on Mayor Waseem Akhtar’s directives. The court then directed Mayor Waseem Akhtar, provincial and federal governments to form a plan regarding providing an alternative for the people whose shops have been cleared during the anti-encroachment operation.
The CJP also made it clear that the SC had only ordered to clear illegal shops and structures. He said the top court had not ordered to demolish residential properties.
Meanwhile, Karachi mayor has assured that no houses would be demolished during the ant-encroachment drive. He said the authorities will only focus on removing encroachments on roads and illegal shops.