SHC bans seashore reclamation, commercial use of defence lands

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The Sindh High Court has banned the commercial use of lands allotted for defence purposes and restrained the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) from seashore land reclamation activities until November 16.

The court has also ordered an inspection of the reclaimed land and has sought a report on the commercial use of the defence lands within 15 days.

The Sindh High Court order came on Friday, October 22 on a petition filed by half a dozen plaintiffs, mostly residents of DHA Karachi.

The 38 defendants named in the petition include the federal government, Sindh government, DHA, cantonment boards, port authorities, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, Civil Aviation Authority, and Military Estate Office.

Under the court order, all commercial use of defence lands is to be stopped including the use of 19 marriage halls set up by the defence institutions and the cinema hall located at the Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi.

The court has also ordered authorities to stop work on the Falcon Mall at Shahrah-e-Faisal, he said.

A major section of the court order concerns the land reclamation activities carried out on the seashore.

“Till the next date of hearing, the defendants are restrained from reclaiming any further land from any shores existing in the territorial justrisdiction of this court, or granting any such land to anyone, or creating any third party interest on these ladns or properties built thereon, or chaning such lands’ use”, the Sindh High Court ordered.

About the commercial use of defence lands, the court ordered the official defendants to “ensure that lands and premises earlier sanctioned to them as public spaces for the purpose of parking or facilitating the public at large including parks and amenities should not be used for any commercial or gainful purpose, as well as for holding of any functions, including marriage or social gathering functions, generating any sort of revenue for the defendants, till the next date of hearing,” according to the written order.

The court has set the next hearing for November 16, 2021.

The court has appointed an “official assignee” to “inspect and furnish a detailed report with photographs and maps of the reclaimed lands … and details of commercial places … with regards their title, occupation, and land use within fifteen days while associating Karachi Urban Lab … or any other similar institutions in this pursuit.”

The court said the assistance of the National Institute of Oceanography Pakistan may also be sought.

 

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