KARACHI                  -           Personnel of the anti-encroachment department faced stiff resistance from the residents of railways land here in Gulshan-e-Iqbal on Tuesday when they came to their area to remove encroachments on the directives of the Supreme Court (SC).

People, particularly women, stopped the officials from entering the premises of a building at Gilani Railway Station in the area. They chanted slogans against the personnel for razing their building.

Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Tuesday requested the apex court to direct the federal and provincial governments to provide alternative lands to all those who would lose their homes as a result of the anti-encroachment operation, launched for the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).

Addressing a presser at the Sindh Assembly, MQM-P’s parliamentary leader in Sindh Assembly Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that central and provincial departments were responsible for encroachments on the government’s land as they let the construction of multi-storey plazas and residential units unhindered, and later sold these structures to poor people.

He added while one hand, common man could not construct his own house without the permission of the concerned department, on the other hand, multi-storey buildings were built but no one paid heed to it. “There are thousands of cases where the concerned officials allowed illegal construction after taking bribe,” said Jameel.

MQM-P leader demanded both the federal and provincial governments to provide alternate places to the affectees as both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had promised provision of homes to the poor in their manifestos. “The PTI had announced to construct five million houses whereas PPP has Roti, Kapra and Makan as its manifesto,” he added.

Flanked by other MPAs of the party, Jameel asked the PTI-led federal government to accommodate the people—who were affected owing to malpractices of the officials—first in its five million homes project. “We have an example of Lyari Expressway in front of us where 28,000 families were relocated to other places peacefully and each one of these families was also handed cash worth Rs50,000,” the MQM-P leader, and urged the authorities to replicate the same procedure in the case of affectees of KCR.

He also asked the concerned authorities not to carry out the operation in haste, reminding that one such operation was conducted in Liaquatabad few months ago, but debris from it was still to be cleared.

Jameel also appealed to the Sindh government and Rangers on behalf of Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar to retrieve Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMCs) land from the grabbers. “The mayor is asking others to remove encroachments from KMC land as he has no powers to do so on his own,” he concluded.