Tuesday Jun 15, 2021
Violent clashes erupted on Tuesday between police and protesters gathered to demonstrate against a Supreme-Court ordered anti-encroachment operation on Karachi's Rashid Minhas Road.
An anti-encroachment drive ordered by the Supreme Court has been underway in various parts of the city. However, it was at the former Aladdin Amusement Park which was converted to the Pavilion End Club and where a shopping mall had also been constructed, that the demonstrators had gathered today, to protest against shops being demolished.
In a court hearing a day earlier regarding encroachments in the area, the apex court had ordered the Karachi Commissioner to ensure their removal and file a compliance report within two days.
When the operation began today, shopkeepers staged a protest on the road which was met with a baton charge by police, resulting in injuries to several people.
During the operation, a restaurant on the premises was evacuated and all its equipment shifted onto a truck.
The billboard at the entrance of the shopping plaza was demolished with the help of heavy machinery while demolition of the main entrance wall was underway at the time this report was filed.
Protesters pelted stones at the law enforcement personnel, leaving a policeman injured.
Director Anti-Encroachment Bashir Siddiqui, who was leading the operation, said there is stiff resistance from the shopkeepers but vowed that the orders of the Supreme Court would be implemented.
Due to the protest, the flow of traffic was also affected on the main Rashid Minhas Road.
According to traffic police, the road from Nipa to Gulistan-e-Johar is closed for vehicles due to the operation and traffic is being diverted from Nipa to Hassan Square.
In addition, on the orders of the Supreme Court, the anti-encroachment department took action in Federal B Area Block 15, during which a boundary wall spread over four acres was taken down.
According to KMC officials, rooms that were part of an accommodation in an adjoining plot used by a private company were also demolished during the operation; however, the employees were given prior notice to move their belongings.
The officials said that according to the court order, the process has to be completed within two days and a report has to be submitted. “A decision on the houses in the adjoining plot will be taken after looking at the status of the construction plan,” they said.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court lifted the restraining order on the anti-encroachment drive around Orangi and Gujjar nullahs.
The Supreme Court, in its order, directed the Sindh government to rehabilitate the affectees and provide them adequate compensation while continuing the process of vacating government land along both the canals.