Encroachments by DHA and others: SC seeks record of efforts made to recover grabbed land

KARACHI: Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Monday directed Sindh Board of Revenue (SBR) to place on record the report regarding efforts made by it to recover state land which was illegally encroached by Defense Housing Authority (DHA, Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Port Qasim Authority (PQA) and Malir Development Authority (MDA) and other occupants.

The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani issued this direction while hearing Karachi law and order implementation case at apex court’s Karachi registry. Other members of bench were Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Khilji Arif Hussain.

Syed Zulfiqar Shah, member SBR, told the court that 60,000 acres of land belonging to Sindh government had been illegally occupied, out of which 8,000 acres was encroached by private land grabbers and 52,000 acres by DHA, KPT, PQA and MDA and other institutions.

Nazar Muhammad Leghari, ex-member SBR, said that SBR was taking action to recover encroached land and in this regard notices were also issued to encroachers.

However, he was not in position to inform the court how many notices were issued and whether those had been challenged in court.

The bench sought from SBR the report showing details of notices issued to illegal occupants. The bench summoned Arif Aziz, head of anti-encroachment force, to inform it about efforts made by his force to recover land from encroachers.

To a query of court regarding progress on law and order situation, Advocate General (AG) Sindh Abdul Fatah Malik said that provincial government had obeyed most of its directions for maintaining law and order in the city.

At which Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that provincial government had complied with the court orders but your statement was not based on ground realities as citizens were still living in fear of their lives.

Shahid Hayat, Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Sindh Police informed the court that over 10,000 criminals have been arrest since inception of targeted operations. He told court that 7,624 accused had been charge-sheeted that include 175 culprits, five target killers, 29 terrorists. He said that 175 cases had been challaned in Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATCs).

He said 7,000 cases had also been sent to district and sessions court for trial. Justice Khilji said that law enforcement agencies had only put the large number of culprits behind the bars but not ensured they stand trial. “Terrorist are operating their networks through cell phones from the prison,” he informed.

He questioned how law enforcement agencies would be able to control law and order in that situation.

AIG said that mobile jammers have been installed at Karachi Central Prison to curb all such activities. The bench observed that the jammers had affected mobile communications in the locality due to their high range, therefore, low-range jammers should be installed.

Shahid Hayat said that police would install low-range jammers at penitentiaries.

The bench sought an explanation from IG Sindh for reinstating SSP Malir Rao Anwar, who was suspended by the apex court for being inefficient.

Applicant Mehmood Akhtar, a civil rights campaigner, said that around 50 people were killed and over 150 injured in a blast near Shia-dominated residential apartments in Abbas Town, Karachi, on 3 March 2013.

He said that SSP Malir Rao Anwar Ahmed was suspended for their criminal negligence and poor response after the blast.

He told the court that SSP Rao Anwar was reinstated without seeking permission of court.

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