In 1998 a Karachi builder announces with grand fun-fare a project to construct 9-storey building in Gulistan-e-Johar. Newspapers carry colorful advertisements for weeks and finally around 180 families sign the contracts with builder. As per agreement, a monthly installment of x amount is paid for years and just last year apartments were officially handed over to allottees. In the mean time Railway Cooperative Housing Society approaches the Sindh High Court (SHC) claiming it’s their land and ongoing construction is illegal. Last week SHC ordered the building to be evacuated, to be sealed and land be returned to Railways.

1998-2014 —- quite a long period, during which project files moved through KDA, KMC, SBCA, Revenue Board and utility companies. All gave clearance to proceed by issuing Survey Number, Lease Papers, NOC to construct and what not. As is said Justice is blind — 180 families are being punished for corruption among government departments. SHC has rejected pleas to issue stay order; instead utility companies are being asked to cut power and water supplies of those who are refusing to evacuate. Today 180 families are on the road with no roof to hide —- that’s one side of law(lessness).

Few weeks back paramilitary force Karachi Rangers officials approached Radio Pakistan’ old building on MA Jinnah road and informed the staff that they would stay there to monitor law and order situation in Muharram in old city. Fair enough, a peaceful Muharram was in everyone’ interest; Rangers were allowed to move in on the premise that it’s for a short period only. Today paramilitary force has partially occupied the building; have erected the pickets and some sort of construction is ongoing to suit the forces’ needs. Radio Pakistan was housed in that building soon after Pakistan creation and has produced memorable programs, plays, talk shows and music mehfils from there. Who can forget ZA Bukhari, Shahid Ahmed Dehalvi, SM Saleem, Qazi Wajid, Mahmood Ali, Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, Talat Hussain, Mahdi Hasan, Josh and countless actors, writers and directors mesmerizing the whole country? Radio Pakistan building is a declared Heritage building can’t be modified or misused. Now no one knows who permitted Rangers to occupy that building and for how long? That’s the second side of law(lessness).

True not only for Pakistan but perhaps for all countries with no or limited democratic credentials — law is by the powerful for the powerful. Rest is just consumable tools and parts of law machinery.

MASOOD JHAN,

Saudi Arabia, November 13.