KARACHI   -  The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday ordered the mayor of Karachi, the project director of the Lines Area Development Authority, the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and others to take joint action while hearing a petition against the commercial use of residential land.

A two-member bench of the SHC headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan ordered the institutions to end the commercial use of residential areas and present a report within 15 days.

The bench was hearing a petition moved by Advocate Syed Attaullah Shah seeking restriction of commercial activities in residential areas.

While submitting his arguments, SBCA lawyer said that ending encroachments doesn’t come within their jurisdiction to which Justice Khan responded saying, “these aren’t encroachments, these are illegal constructions”.

The authority’s lawyer said that they could not take action on public land to which the SHC judge said: “If there is illegal work being done on public land, do the SBCA’s hands and feet get cut off?”

The court expressed displeasure at the lack of implementation of its previous orders on the matter, and issued directions to the institutions to take help from the police to end these illegal constructions and added, “if the police did not do the job, we will provide Rangers, but the constructions should be ended”.

The SBCA lawyer said that in some areas the Lines Area Development Authority has authority for action, whose lawyer said that when they end the commercial use of residential authorities, people start the work again. “Our work is to close shops, not breaking them,” he said.

According to the petitioner, Advocate Syed Attaullah Shah, people have influence and no organisation takes action against them.

He added that since 2012 court orders were not being implemented and added that contempt of court action should be taken against the parties.