The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered an end to all kinds of business/commercial activities on military lands in Karachi. Hearing a case on Thursday in Karachi, the apex court directed the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to call a cabinet meeting to draw a plan to restore Karachi city according to its original master plan.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, hearing a case relating to the unlawful constructions in the city also expressed displeasure at the absence of the representatives of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Cantonment Board during today’s proceedings.
Only Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shalwani and Advocate General for Sindh Salman Talibuddin were present in the Supreme Court.
Justice Gulzar wondered why the armed forces and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) were running wedding halls and cinemas. Is it part of their job? he argued.
Justice Gulzar also observed that a wedding hall was functional near the Karachi airport, which had already been targeted for a terrorist attack in the past. He also observed that why a wedding hall, close to the Central Ordnance Depot, was being operated.
Meanwhile, according to Dawn.com, Justice Gulzar also asked why walls were being erected along main thoroughfares based on the wishes of an armed forces officer, who wishes to use them (the walls) to generate revenue from billboards.
“And, behind these walls, big buildings are being constructed,” he noted. “If they [the people involved] had their way, they would be constructing buildings on the streets.”
Rejecting a report presented by the Sindh government and Karachi Development Authority officials, Justice Gulzar lambasted provincial officials for “singing lullabies” for the court.
“This report of yours is of no use,” Justice Gulzar thundered. “If we passed an order on the basis of this report, your entire government will be sent reeling.”
“Don’t tell us bedtime stories,” Justice Gulzar censured the Sindh advocate general. “You do know AG sahab, what it means to sing someone lullabies? It means, ‘Listen to this lullaby and go to sleep’.”
“We are not here to be sung to sleep,” Justice Gulzar said.
“You have a good chief secretary (Mumtaz Ali Shah), and yet you have been able to achieve nothing,” he complained. The court ordered that the Sindh government’s report be submitted along with formal architectural plans and suggestions.
“Let me make it clear: This city will be restored to its original master plan,” Justice Gulzar asserted.
“Look at at what the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has done to the coastal strip,” he remarked.
“They have encroached so far into the sea that if they had their way, they would build another city on the sea itself.
“The owners of DHA will [then] encroach on the entire sea all the way to America and plant their flags there,” the judge commented.
“They are currently wondering how they can make inroads into India as well,” he added.