-SC asks NDMA to clean & remove encroachments in Karachi
From Zeeshan Mirza
KARACHI: Observing that neither the Sindh government nor the local government is working on removing the encroachments, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to clean up all the nullahs in Karachi and remove encroachments along them.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, issued these directives while hearing a petition related to encroachments on nullahs in the port city. The top judge remarked that the Sindh government is a “complete failure” and its people are only enjoying themselves.
Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani presented a report to the court over operations undertaken by the authorities against encroachments. However, the court expressed dissatisfaction with the report and instead lambasted the Sindh and local governments over lack of progress. The court also directed the Sindh government to assist the NDMA.
The report said that Karachi has 38 major nullahs and 514 small nullahs which are under the control of the DMCs. The commissioner told the court that the NDMA is working on cleaning only three major nullahs of the city. The commissioner told the court that people had been living on land encroached on the mullahs for the last ten years. “The Sindh government has done nothing for the people. You did nothing in the last 20 years,” remarked CJP Ahmed.
To this, the Sindh advocate general intervened and informed the court that when the government goes to remove the encroachments, people start “attacking” them. He added that a “law and order situation” gets created.
“This is the writ of your government. Where is the writ of the government in Karachi?” asked the CJP for the government lawyer’s response. He remarked that the city is full of sewerage water and people walk on streets by placing stepping stones on the water.
Meanwhile, Justice Faisal Arab also expressed his disappointment with the state of affairs in the province, deploring that people have to approach the courts for water and electricity.
“There is a mafia operating here. There is no law,” said CJP Ahmed. He added that the “complete government machinery” was involved in how the situation was in the province.
During the hearing, the attorney general of Pakistan informed the court that the federal government is closely looking into the matters of Karachi. “We are looking at all constitutional and lawful options,” the attorney general informed the court. He added that Karachi is a metropolitan city and no one can see its metropolitan city being “destroyed”. “I cannot give my final word on Karachi but a decision will be made soon,” the attorney general told the court.
Agencies add: The supreme court on Tuesday slammed the Sindh government for their late dismal performance over cleanliness in Karachi, stating that Sindh government has “completely failed” in the province.
The apex court held a hearing session, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad, into the nullahs encroachment case from the Karachi registry. The CJ told the Advocate General Sindh that the provincial government had turned the “entire Karachi into a goth”.
“The entire city is filled with filth and sewerage water,” said the chief justice angrily. “Mosquitoes, flies and germs are everywhere. People are walking on stones [to cross sewerage water],” he added. “In two months, Haji Lemo Goth will be cleared,” the advocate general told the court. “How many years has it been since you have been in power?” asked the top judge. “This is our commitment towards you,” responded the provincial government’s lawyer. “Your commitment should be with the people. But what have you done with them?” retorted Justice Gulzar. “The situation is bad from Karachi to Kashmore. Wherever one goes, the situation is the same,” he added.
He inquired the advocate general about the public-private partnership boards set up at Sindh’s highways. “What is this? We can’t allow such work to be carried out. How can you award a contract to someone else?” wondered the chief justice.
The chief justice said that there was “total destruction” and that Sindh government had “totally failed”.
“Rulers are the only ones who are enjoying themselves,” said the chief justice. “This is turning into a province of total anarchy.”
“Who will rectify the province? Do we ask the federal government to rectify the province? Who will provide the people with their basic rights?” CJ asked. Justice Faisal Arab lamented that people have to move the court to avail basic facilities such as water and power. “I belong to this province as well but look at the situation here,” he said. Talking about the dismal state of affairs in the province, the chief justice said that mafias are operating in the city and that there is no rule of law in the province.
“The entire government machinery is involved [in Karachi’s deteriorating situation] including the bureaucrats,” said Justice Gulzar. “Millions of rupees are being earned, illegal documents get registered,” he added.