SC orders for removal of billboards in a month

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Irfan Aligi

Karachi—The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has placed an immediate order to the civic authorities in Karachi, which are around 13, to remove all illegally erected signages and billboards in a month starting from Mar 11, 2016. The SC placed such orders while hearing the Karachi Lawlessness Case under the Suo Moto notice taken by the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in 2013. The SC has resumed hearing of the same case after a very long pause.
The SC bench comprising three members said in remarks if the by-laws of the Cantonment Boards are applicable on the civilians then the municipal by-laws should also be applied on the Cantonment Boards. The SC also questioned as why the military institution entered into this sort of business.
One eminent member of the three member bench of the Sc, Justice Amir Hani Muslim in his remarks said at least 90 percent billboards and signages in Karachi are placed illegally and these should be removed in a month time. These signages are, as usual, erected along side roads and main avenues and attract attention of the citizens on driving seats of a vehicle, which poses serious dangers for accident.
He said the SC could not permit for such signages in order to save citizens lives and it would be appropriate to remove all billboards if there is a question of life of even a single citizen.
Another member of the bench, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain in his remarks said all the billboards erected alongside roads are illegal. He also questioned as why the military institutions has entered into this sort of business of billboards and signages. The municipal laws should also be applied on cantonment Boards.
Justice Hani also remarked, “All institutions should follow similar laws.”
Newly appointed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s administrator Roshan Ali Shaikh informed the apex court that the port city of Karachi is the only city in the world where billboards and signages are of mega sizes and one erected alongside the FTC on Shahra-e Faisal is perhaps Pakistan’s biggest billboard, which is highly dangerous.

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