Apex court comes down hard on Murad, Wahab

Maqbool Ahmed

25th Oct, 2021. 10:09 pm

Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. Photo: Files

KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and Administrator Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Murtaza Wahab earned the ire of the Supreme Court of Pakistan which was hearing cases pertaining to encroachments along storm-water drains and amenity plots in Karachi on Monday.

The CM was called by the apex court to know the progress on rehabilitation of affectees of drive against encroachments along storm-water drains while Administrator Wahab was present in connection with a case regarding encroachments on amenity plots in the city.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed while heading a three-member bench observed it appeared that the entire governance system had been paralyzed in Sindh.

The CJP asked the CM why officers on important posts were being transferred frequently.

The CM replied that the federal government was not making appointments on posts of grades 21 and 20 where making appointments was its responsibility. The CM stated that there was a dearth of officers in different departments of the provincial government and the affairs were being run by giving addition charge to several officers.

The bench asked the attorney general of Pakistan why the federal government did not resolve such issues. The attorney general submitted that he frequently had meetings with CM and would definitely convey his concerns to the federal government.

The CJP observed that administration of the province appeared to have become non-functional. “Instead of solving their problems, people are asked by administration to bring an order of court,” observed the chief justice adding that such behaviour of the executive had increased case load on judiciary manifold. In past if a hundred thousand people used to approach the courts, today the number had gone beyond millions.

When the administrator was asked about the number of amenity plots in KMC’s area that had been encroached upon and what he had done to remove them, he stated that they city’s past mayors had even sold the footpaths and allotted them to shops.

When he stated that the rent of KMC shops and huts, which was meagre in the past, was being increased, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan asked him why KMC was not revoking lease of shops and huts.

Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed reminded the administrator that those were state territories and the leases could not be made while sitting in offices. When the administrator kept on speaking about the steps being taken regarding shops and huts and apparently avoided answering questions posed by the bench, the CJP asked him to remain silent. When the administrator, who is a lawyer by profession, tried to speak again by submitting that he has right to speak, Justice Amin reminded him that his right to speak was subject to approval of the bench and he could say whatever he likes.

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