KARACHI: Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) on Tuesday night halted the construction work on almost 1,100-1,300 acres of land in Karachi’s Bahria Town, in compliance with the verdict of Supreme Court (SC) passed in August 2016.
According to sources, a heavy contingent of security agencies entered into Bahria Town on Tuesday and asked its administration to stop the construction work on almost 1,100-1,300 acres of disputed land.
The sources alleged that Bahria Town included some illegal land occupied from its adjoining areas, which were not included in its plan earlier. Therefore, the SC, on a petition of a local inhabitant, directed all the authorities of Sindh, including Malir Development Authority (MDA), to restrain Bahria Town administration from any further constructions.
The courts in its interim order said, “The Bahria Town is restrained from undertaking any development activity in the area demarcated with green colour and black lines on it, measuring 244.925 acres, and or to deal with this portion of land with any person or organisation in any manner whatsoever.”
The petition was filed by a local inhabitant in Sindh High Court (SHC), and SHC’s verdict was later challenged in the Supreme Court.
The verdict of the SC on August 2, 2016, restrained Bahria Town from undertaking any development activity on “5,786 acres” of land in Karachi with immediate effect. But the sources claimed that the construction continued on the disputed land in and representatives of LEAs just asked the administration of Bahria Town to stop the work.
The SC bench, comprising Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Mushir Alam, in its interim order, ruled that the land was illegally allotted to Bahria Town by the officials of MDA.
The court had already directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to complete its investigation and obtain maps/images of the entire land stated to be in possession of the Bahria Town and submit it before the court for record within two months. The court also restrained the Sindh government from allotting any further land to Bahria Town.
The court further restricted Sindh government’s Board of Revenue from dealing with MDA land with immediate effect.
According to sources, prices of Bahria Town plots have decreased a lot after the SC’s stay-order.
Sources said that construction work of the first three phases has been stopped during the day but it resumes in the night.
Another source said, “The construction work has been stopped only on disputed and illegal land, which belonged to a Hindu petitioner, while the construction work on other places continues.”
He further claimed, “Bahria Town administration has made some necessary changes in its original map, and is shifting plots of the investors from disputed land to other places.”
According to the report submitted by Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) in the Supreme Court, SBCA did not pass any layout plan of the Bahria Town nor did it approve any No Objection Certificate (NOC) for advertisement campaign after the SC’s decision. The SBCA did not approve any price list of the plots or apartments in Bahria Town either.
Taking notices of illegal allotments of government land and amenity plots, the SC had already directed the Sindh government to remove the illegal constructions on 35,000 amenity plots or face ‘contempt of court’.
NAB had also arrested 14 officials of Karachi Development Authority on SC’s order in this connection.
Pakistan Today tried to contact officials of Bahria Town and left text messages, but there was no response till the filing of this report.
Bahria Town Chairman Malik Riaz, in a video posted on Facebook, denied that Rangers carried out any action against Bahria Town and called it a false propaganda. He blamed the anti-Pakistan elements, who do not want to see development in Pakistan, for creating false propaganda.
He said that feudal aristocracy is the enemy of the country as it cannot see middle and lower middle class prosper. “Bahria Town works for the betterment of middle and lower middle class of the country,” he added.