KARACHI   -   Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani has termed street vendors legal business saying it is not an encroachment as law permits to do the business with formal permission.

He was speaking as a chief guest at a seminar “Street Vendor Project”.  organised by  Islamabad based research institute PRIME Institute, in collaboration with Friedrich Naumann Foundation, National Youth Assembly and  laywer Ahmed Bashir  at a local hotel in Karachi.

The seminar was attended among others by the economists from different universities based in Karachi, scholars, representatives of NGOs, and members of working group formed by the PRIME to get feedback from multiple stakeholders on preparing a draft Legislative Bill for the protection of vending rights of street vendors and articulating the public space usage. 

The commissioner said: “Government has no intention to ban street vendors, as they consider that it provides low income group people to earn their livelihood and contributes to the economy, however street vendors should be regulated and should be registered.”

He said various countries allow low to do that business but they are regulated  there and don’t allow those who don’t get registered with the concerned department. They are mandatorily bound that the registration number issued to them are displayed on their carts.

Commissioner ensured his full support to the PRIME institute and organisation involve in this prestige project. He emphasised the role of public-private partnership and civil society organise to strengthen and regulate the rights of vendors. However this cannot be stated that there are no laws available. Laws are available and need of hour is to regulate the rights of street vendor.

Beenish Javed, Research Associate at PRIME, highlighted the rationale and objectives of the meeting. She shed light on the economic significance of the vending community, the challenges facing their livelihoods and the need to regulate and protect their vending rights.

Ahmed Bashir, a Senior Lawyer, presented the draft legislative bill on urban street vendors which focuses on regulating and protecting the rights of vendors.

Trespasses removed during anti-encroachment drive

The anti-encroachment cell of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) carried out raids in various parts of Karachi on Friday.

The raids were conducted in North Nazimabad, North Karachi, Landhi and Korangi areas of the metropolis where the officials of the anti-encroachment cell removed dozens of cabins, grills, chairs and other assets.

The cell also demolished illegal constructions on footpaths in the areas during the latest raids.

Earlier in August, Board of Revenue officials had carried out an anti-encroachment operation to retrieve its land in Ahsanabad Sector 3 and Gulshan-e-Brohi, where hundreds of houses were razed.

The operation resulted in strong protests of the residents as women surrounded the debris of houses and announced not to vacate the location. The residents told media that their houses were turned into rubble without giving any notice prior to the action.

On the other hand, the board’s officials gave its stance that land grabbing mafia has illegally held the government land and no one is authorised to sell the land. They added that the land up to hundreds of acres was retrieved with the assistance of local police in the latest anti-encroachment operation.