Residents move SHC over CBC, DHA’s ‘failure of duties’

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Angered by the lack of preparedness and response by the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) after the record-breaking rains in Karachi last week, residents on Thursday filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) against both bodies for their “abject failure to perform basic duties”. The court issued notices to CBC and DHA on the petition, seeking their reply within three weeks when it is expected to take up the case. Separately, pre-arrest bail was granted to at least 22 people who protested outside the CBC last week against the lack of action by the departments concerned. On Wednesday, the CBC lodged a first information report (FIR) against them on charges of “ransacking” its office, using “inappropriate language” against state institutions, spreading fear, harassing officials and creating hindrances in official work. The petition states that the authorities’ “abject failure to discharge their statutory mandate as well as their gross negligence” had resulted in “disastrous loss of lives and destruction of property during the course of the heavy rains” while residents continued to suffer for days afterwards. “The CBC is responsible for urban management functions [whereas] the DHA conducts development and planning works within its allotted area,” it said. The petition also termed the registration of the FIR against at least 22 residents who protested “peacefully” in front of the CBC’s Karachi office earlier this week as “malicious”. Meanwhile, residents gathered outside the DHA Karachi Head Office on Thursday to register their protest against the post-rain situation in the locality, as some areas remain waterlogged. Containers were placed on some of the roads leading to the office while male and female police officials in riot gear were deployed at the site of the protest. The residents, numbering in hundreds, protested against lack of services and drainage system. They also repeated the demands mentioned in the petition.

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