KARACHI:The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ordered authorities to restart work to widen Gujjar Nullahs and dismissed the area residents’ plea against the anti-encroachment drive and request for compensation.
A three-member bench of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, heard the cases pertaining to illegal encroachments in the port city at the SC’s Karachi Registry.
As the affectees of the Gujjar and Orangi Nullahs anti-encroachment operation protested outside the court premises and demanded a ‘house for a house’, the apex court annulled all restraining orders against the anti-encroachment drive.
At the outset of the hearing, the KMC counsel stated before the court that the work on the expansion of Gujjar and Orangi nullahs was underway on the court orders, but the anti-encroachment tribunal has stopped them from razing the leased houses.
Advocate General Sindh apprised the court that Rs20,000 per month rent would be given to the affectees of the nullah.
On the occasion, the CJP asked who is responsible for leasing the nullahs? “Sindh government is responsible for leasing the land of drain,” remarked CJP Gulzar.
Faisal Siddiqui, counsel for the affectees, said that the lease of the houses was given by KDA, Katchi Abadi Department and KMC.
“The Supreme Court has not given any order to build a road around the canals. In this regard, the decision of the Supreme Court is being misinterpreted,” the counsel prayed.
A 10-foot-wide road will also be built on both sides of the drain after the encroachment drive.
Sindh’s Advocate General said the width of the drain would not be affected after a new road is constructed along its bank. Justice Ijazul Ahsan replied that if a road was being constructed, then its approval would be in accordance with the law.
The chief justice said that if the leases were checked, then ‘all the fraud would come out as the documents are fake. It is all a matter of China cutting’.
“If the land is government-owned, how can relief be given to the affectees?” Justice Gulzar inquired. “Don’t know how these leases were given. This land is not the land of the affectees.”
Counsel Siddiqui, in his reply, said that the leases of houses belonging to the rich should also be checked.
Justice Ahsan added that the counsel should take the leases to the concerned department and prove it.