SC orders rehabilitation of victims of encroachment drives
KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Sindh government to rehabilitate all those people who lost their homes during the encroachment removal drive along the major storm water drains of the city within a year.
The direction came from a three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed while hearing identical applications filed by different organisations and individuals at the Karachi registry.
At the very outset Advocate General Sindh Sindh Sulman Talibuddin invited anger of the bench when he submitted that provincial government did not have huge funds required for rehabilitation of the affectees.
“Funds of around Rs10 billion would be required to provide shelter to those who were affected by the anti-encroachment campaign,” the AG submitted. He added that the rehabilitation was possible if the funds were provided from the amount collected from Bharia Town.
This ensued a long debate between the AG and members of the bench.
Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan observed that no one — neither Sindh nor federal government — had any right to claim money recovered from Bharia Town by the Supreme Court.
“The money belongs to people of Sindh and would be spent in certain manner without handing it over to federal or provincial government,” observed the judge.
The AG submitted that around 250 acres land would be required to build 6,500 houses and the Sindh government had acute shortage of funds. He stated that Rs60 billion recovered from Bharia Town were lying with the top court and if funds could be provided from that then work for rehabilitation could be started at the earliest.
The AG stated that there was an order of the apex court regarding formation of commission for deciding who would get the money recovered from Bahria Town.
“Then you should keep waiting for that,” observed Justice Ahsan
Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that the Sindh government would have to fund rehabilitation from its own resources. Sindh government, he observed, had huge funds on its disposal and wondered where the funds were spent.
The AG replied that a presentation could be given to court how and where these funds were spent.
The court finally directed the chief minister to ensure that the affectees are rehabilitated providing them all sort of facilities. The CM, the court further directed, will ensure that the funds are provided for the purpose of rehabilitation and affectees are rehabilitated within a period of one year.
The court further directed the Sindh government to submit report regarding provision of funds to it in two weeks’ time.
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