KARACHI - The city administration and other civic authorities have decided to establish a taskforce consisting of officers of various organisations for monitoring and removal of encroachments from Saddar Area.

The decision was taken in a meeting held in the Commissioner Office regarding making Saddar area including Empress Market, encroachments free model area, the meeting was informed that a notification regarding the task force will be issued in next two days while all encroachments from inside and surrounding area of Empress Market in Saddar will be removed within three weeks.

The meeting further decided that the land grabbers will also be identified and arrested before doing this operation and all the area from Naveed Clinic to Lucky Star will be made encroachments free. The encroachments mafia will be arrested and punished in case of any resistance or creating hurdle in the operation.

It also decided that vehicle parking on Saddar roads will be banned and the parking plaza will be restored. “Repairing work of footpaths will be started once these places are made encroachments free. Ban has been imposed on the parking of push carts on the empty plots in the Karachi Cantonment area,” meeting informed.

The meeting was chaired by Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shalwani and Mayor Wasim Akhtar whereas deputy commissioner South, West and officials from district police, traffic police, Rangers, KMC, KDA, Anti Encroachments Police, local government board, DMC South and West and other organisations attended this meeting.

Addressing the meeting, the mayor said that the encroachments have been a big problem in Saddar area and some people have got stay orders for this. A major problem has been solved now with the decision of the Supreme Court and now all stakeholders have this opportunity to make this a model and beautiful area, he added.

He said there is no hurdle now in making this area encroachments free and the orders of the Supreme Court will be implemented for which operation will start in few days.

He said that the encroachments are established in and around the Empress Market which has adversely affected the beauty of this building. Footpaths are completely encroached upon, KMC has started removing the encroachments in the city however removal of encroachments from Saddar will be a big task.

Wasim said nowhere in any society you can do commercial activities in parks and pavements, whatever mistakes were done in past have to be rectified now and there should be no negligence in this.

He said that the land grabbers have been informed through pamphlets and banners to voluntarily clear the footpaths or strict action will be taken against them. “We have to clean the Saddar area from encroachments in three weeks time,” he added.

The commissioner while addressing the meeting said that this being the order of the biggest court of the country and therefore all concerned organisations must perform their responsibility as a team work and clean the Saddar area.

He said that the task force be made to ensure no resurfacing of encroachments once these area removed which will patrol the area on 24 hour basis. Transport will not be allowed to enter in Saddar on Saturday and Sunday and pedestrians will be facilitated. Those who do handicrafts or bookshops or coffee house would be able to setup stall in this area on Saturday and Sunday.

He said that the mayor and Karachi Commissioner Office will work as main organisations for this operation to coordinate with all other organisations and carry out a joint campaign.

On the occasion, Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Saifur Rehman presented a report in the meeting and said that the KMC has completed all preparations for this work which will begin in two days. Operation will be carried out in the jurisdiction of three police stations in Saddar.