ISLAMABAD - Hearing a petition about the abolishment of encroachment from the public places in Karachi, the Supreme Court has sought comprehensive plan from chief secretary Sindh and City District Government Karachi (CDGK) regarding the retrieving of state land occupied illegally by land mafia.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the petition filed by former Nazim Niamatullah Khan, pleading the court to retrieve the public plots and parks occupied illegally by land grabbers and certain political parties in the city.

During the hearing, the court expressing concern over the Sindh government for not taking interest regarding the removal of encroachment from public parks land in Karachi said it was the duty of provincial government to take steps against encroachers but nothing had been done in this regard. The chief justice has also questioned that whether the government was helpless in retrieving the state’s land.

The court said if the government could not implement the court’s order then give clean chit to all to land mafias for occupying the state’s land. The chief justice asked the City District Government Karachi to take action and if the government was facing threat from encroachers then inform the court. On the suggestion of Additional Advocate Sindh for forming a commission in this matter, the CJ said why they were dragging the judiciary in every matter; as it was the government duty to take action against land mafia.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that a mosque was being constructed in the land of Jahangir Park; likewise, all the playgrounds had been occupied on Kashmir road and marriage centre were running there. Upon this, the CJ observed that mosque could not be built without permission in view of Islamic principals.

He said that encroachment was not only the problem of Karachi but other cities like Islamabad; encroachers were too active in occupying the state’s land. The court asked the Sindh government to remove the encroachment on Kashmir road immediately and take it as taste case.

Seeking the comprehensive plan, it further asked the government to tell about its actions, which has been taken against encroachers. Hearing of the case is adjourned till March 20.

Karachi ex-nazim Niamatullah Khan, in his petition filed in the SC, contended that political parties had set up their offices on 127 amenity plots and parcelled out another 35 plots and some parkland for residential and commercial purposes during the past four years. The petitioner also said that one of the biggest reasons behind the deteriorating law and order in Karachi was the illegal possession of public land and its disposal in a manner that “suits the land grabbers and mafia operating in the city”.

Referring to Article 184(3) of the constitution, the petitioner had raised 14 questions for the court to settle. He requested the court to direct the authorities concerned to get back the possession of the public land and amenity plots from the occupants.