Anti-encroachment drive affectees to get alternate plots

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Observer Report

The Sindh government has decided to allot alternate plots to people affected by the ongoing anti-encroachment drive along Karachi’s drains, including Gujjar nullah.

According to details, the provincial government will appoint a commission to be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court for the purpose.

Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Law and Environment Barrister Murtaza Wahab has finalised a draft for formation of the commission and sent it to the chief minister for approval.

The commission will allot 80-yard plots to affected people of the anti-encroachment drive along the port city’s Gujjar, Orangi and other nullahs. Apart from them, it would also consider Nasla Tower affectees and other cases.

On June 26, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed its concern over eviction of people living along Gujjar and Orangi nullahs in Karachi.

“These actions were undertaken by city authorities without adequate consultation with the affected residents, no relocation plan, and disparate and insufficient compensation for the displaced,” the United Nations experts said in a statement.

According to the experts, 96,000 people may be affected by the demolition of 12,000 houses along Karachi nullahs. The experts further expressed concern over the Supreme Court’s dismissal of stay orders issued by the Anti-Encroachment tribunal, which has saved some houses from demolition.

“In the wake of this decision, there are worrying reports that demolitions are underway again in Gujjar and Orangi nullahs, causing continuing stress and anxiety to residents,” the experts said.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari earlier announced that the government would provide 80-yard plots to the affectees.

Authorities have razed hundreds of houses along three major stormwater drains — Gujjar, Mehmoodabad and Orangi nullahs — in the last six months.

These drains are being widened to ensure a smooth flow of rainwater.
The Sindh government decided to remove encroachments around these drains after the August 2020 urban floods in Karachi.

Earlier this month, the top court ordered demolition of Nasla Tower, Aladin Shopping Mall and Pavilion End Club.

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