–Sindh govt, local bodies have enmity with the city, remarks CJP
–Top judge orders restoration of Karachi Circular Railway this year
KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ordered the removal of all advertising billboards from all over the port city.
An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, heard a case pertaining to the illegal installation of billboards on public and private properties as well as roads across the metropolis.
The hearing comes days after a video clip went viral showing two motorcyclists hit and injured by a billboard during heavy rainfall in the city. Taking notice of the incident, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shalwani had ordered the immediate removal of billboards.
During Monday’s hearing, the CJP took the commissioner to task over the mushrooming of billboards across the city. Billboards have been put up everywhere in the city, he remarked. “See buildings on Shahrah-e-Faisal, there are unending advertisements,” he said, wondering how people will be living in these buildings.
The commissioner said that people have been exploiting public properties in the city and claimed there is a mafia behind all this.
The bench directed Shalwani to take action against all those behind the installation of billboards in violation of laws.
CJP Gulzar said it is up to the government to ensure the implementation of building plans and lamented that there is no such thing as government and law in the province. He slammed the Sindh government and local bodies for what he described as “enmity” against Karachi over various instances of misgovernance.
“The Sindh government has enmity with this city, as do the local bodies,” remarked the CJP.
The CJP remarked that if Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar claims that he does not have the powers to work, “he should go home”. He also asked the mayor when his tenure would be ending.
The mayor responded saying his tenure was ending on August 28, to which the CJP said he should “go” so the city can “be rid of him”.
“Everyone is ruining Karachi,” observed CJP Gulzar. He added that it seems everyone was a “mafia” in the city.
The top judge then turned his ire towards the city’s power supply company. He said that every day, “ten to eight” people were being “electrocuted” in the city.
“K-Electric has earned in the billions. K-Electric directors should be arrested and sent to jail,” remarked the CJP. He added that the power supply company has “used” Karachi to pay off its foreign loans.
The CJP also remarked that a case should be registered against the K-Electric chief executive officer and all the management of the company should be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL). He said that the court would issue written orders regarding the matter.
RESTORE KARACHI CIRCULAR RAILWAY THIS YEAR:
Separately, while hearing a case pertaining to the restoration of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) at the apex court’s Karachi registry, CJP Gulzar directed for making the mass-transit system functional this year.
The top judge rejected the statement of the secretary transport regarding the rehabilitation of the KCR track in the city and also reprimanded the secretary railways.
“[The] time we had given you for the restoration of the circular railway is running out and we would take contempt action against you,” the CJP remarked.
The secretary transport informed the court that there are 24 crossings on the track and that underpasses and overhead bridges need to be constructed at 10 intersections. He added that from these 10 crossings more than 2,000 vehicles pass through daily while the remaining 14 intersections have no traffic.
“Rs5 billion have been allocated for the construction and the tender process will be completed this week,” the secretary transport said.
To this, the CJP remarked: “Will you continue to extend the time like this, or will the process ever be completed? Work on the superhighway is not complete yet, you will spend five to ten years on the project.”
He then inquired about the time required for the construction of gates, to which the secretary railways said that it would take six more months.
The top judge then told the official to keep this in mind that the KCR has to run this year.