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Friday Dec 07 2018

Mayor Akhter vows not to demolish residential buildings in Karachi


KARACHI: Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhter, while lamenting political point-scoring on the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, Friday said they would neither demolish any residential building in the megapolis, nor would they let anyone do so.

Akhter said so while speaking at a joint press conference together with Federal Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and others.

He said the ones, whose shops had been demolished, would be compensated. "The chief minister of Sindh and minister for local bodies are on-board, and affected masses are being provided alternate places."

The mayor said Karachi Metropolitan Corporation will provide 1000 shops to affectees through a draw in the first phase.

The Supreme Court had on October 27 ordered that encroachments in the metropolis be removed within the next 15 days, as a bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar heard a case against land mafia in Karachi at the apex court's Karachi Registry.

The city has since then seen thousands of shops demolishing, rendering the owners and workers jobless.

The Karachi mayor categorically stated that neither they would demolish houses or residential buildings, nor would they allow it.

"I will not want the houses of Karachi residents to be razed," Akhter said. "If someone is to be nabbed, then the ones who issued NOCs for [illegal] construction of houses should be held."

He, however, called for regularisation of houses with which shops were constructed.

The Karachi mayor also said that sidewalks were meant for pedestrians, not for running businesses.

"We are clearing Karachi drains, footpaths and parks of encroachments," he said, adding, "A few individuals are doing politics on the operation against encroachments."

Taking his turn, Siddiqui reiterated his party's — Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) — demand to grant authority to the mayor.

He said if political parties were involved in grabbing Karachi lands, then the MQM-P would only have one percent role in it.

The minister said the Supreme Court mandated the Karachi mayor for clearing encroachments in the megapolis and the mayor fulfilled all his responsibilities in that regard.

He, however, lamented that institutions not working under the mayor were also taking action in the name of operation against illegal occupation of lands.

"The Karachi mayor has not demolished a single house in the name of encroachments," Siddiqui said.

"MQM won't allow rendering anyone homeless," he added.

A report, prepared by the KMC earlier this week on the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, stated that around 7,000 shops, 10,000 sun shades and over 2,000 platforms were razed during the last one month.

A two-storey building was also demolished near the city's Empress Market, the report read, adding that no action was taken against encroachments in Malir district or Malir district council.

The action against encroachments has drawn the ire of affected masses, who complain that they are being deprived of their businesses and sources to earn a living for their families.


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