KARACHI: Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhter on Friday said that he would not allow the demolition of residential areas and apartments as he cannot tolerate seeing people shelterless in the metropolis.
“The government should arrest the builders and officials who constructed the houses and issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to them,” he demanded while addressing a press conference in Karachi. He also warned of resigning from his post in protest against the demolition of residential structures.
It is pertinent here to mention that the Supreme Court (SC) in November had directed for an uninterrupted anti-encroachment operation in Karachi in order to transform it into a clean and green city.
The Karachi mayor also called for exempting the shops made before houses from the anti-encroachment drive.
“The anti-encroachment operation should apply on footpaths and roads etc., which I and the residents of Karachi think is fair. However, houses would not be allowed to be taken down,” he said while responding to criticism from within his own party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), and others against the anti-encroachment operation.
He also acknowledged that public places such as parks and other buildings should be vacated as accommodation on those places was a blunder of former officials including former mayors of the city.
Waseem Akhtar clarified that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had nothing to do with court orders and it would arrange 1,000 shops for the affectees of the drive as an alternative, adding that the KMC was supporting the affected people.
“We will move the court if court orders and notices are issued to houses,” he said, asking the top court to look into the matter on humanitarian grounds.
“Some people have started point-scoring over the operation against encroachments,” he added.
Further, the government of Sindh has also filed a review petition against the SC’s ruling of launching an indiscriminate anti-encroachment operation in Karachi.
The petition said that several properties which were being demolished had official documents and pleaded to the court to issue a stay order till the issue is properly settled.