SHC stops demolition of leased properties along nullahs

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The Sindh High Court expressed its anger at authorities for demolishing leased properties along Gujjar and Oranginullahs in violation of the court’s orders.

The bench was informed that leased houses were demolished despite the court’s stay order passed on May 7 and May 18. The SHC then took the contempt notice on record and extended it till after the court’s summer break.

Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi asked why were leased houses demolished when the Supreme Court has clearly instructed against it. Leased houses are not encroachments they cannot be demolished, he added.

The KMC and district administration began the anti-encroachment drive on February 25. Orangi and Gujjar nullahs are two of the three storm water drains that are being widened to ensure the smooth flow of rainwater.

In March, the residents of Karachi’s Orangi Town challenged the anti-encroachment drive along the nullah. Thirty-eight residents filed a petition in the Sindh High Court and said that they have been living in the area since the partition of Bangladesh, adding that they are ‘lawful’ and ‘legal’ owners of their houses.

The petitioners said they were given the lease under the Housing Scheme Act, 1987. They have connections to utilities such as electricity, gas, and water and pay bills.

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