KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Sindh Board of Revenue to ensure that all encroached lands, including that of irrigation and forest departments, were recovered within a month and restored to its original position.
Hearing the application about computerization of revenue record in Sindh, the SC’s three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, observed that despite computerization of land record, dozens of cases were filed daily over fake documentation of properties.
The court observed that officials of the Revenue department were involved in forging land documents by keeping parallel records. CJP Gulzar Ahmed observed that removal of encroachments from government lands was the responsibility of the Revenue department and said the whole of Karachi had been developed on encroached government land.
The court observed that high rises have been constructed on encroached government lands at the Super Highway ahead of the University Road where boundary walls have been raised by encroachers.
Senior member BOR filed a report about reconstruction of record of property rights, burnt after assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto inDecember 2007. He submitted that the Board of Revenue carried out detailed verification of entries, which were not in consonance with microfilming record of 1984-85.
Senior Member BOR Qazi Faiz Pervez submitted that the Board of Revenue department has decided to block 237,597 such entries in the provincial record cell. They have also decided to put restriction notes on all of them and to conduct suo moto proceedings against them under Section 164 of Sindh Land Revenue Act. He submitted that blocking of suspicious entries of Karachi Division was in progress where 62 dehs out of 102 dehs had been blocked and the commissioner Karachi has been asked to undertake suo moto proceedings. He submitted that encroachments on government lands could not be stopped, however, revenue officials were taking actions against encroachments and deputy commissioner Malir has restored 1,000 acres of government land from encroachments.
The court directed the Board of Revenue to submit details of the restored government lands and ensure that all encroached lands are cleared and restored to its original position as it existed prior to encroachment.
The court ordered that all amenity lands, playgrounds and green belts encroached be restored to parks and no further encroachment shall be allowed. The bench also ordered clearing all encroached lands of forest and irrigation departments, cancelling their forged documents and undertaking plantation there.
The court ordered to continue the anti-encroachment drive and told the senior member Board of Revenue to file a compliance report within one month. The court also directed additional advocate generals of KPK and Balochistan to submit reports about completion of revenue record in the respective provinces.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court took an exception over frequent conversions of residential lands into multi-storyed buildings in areas falling under the cantonment boards and issued a notice to Attorney General of Pakistan to assist the court about the status of all the cantonment board lands.
Hearing a petition against construction of high-rise buildings in P&T Colony, the SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that Cantonment Board Clifton has allowed conversion of residential lands for construction of high rises.
The court observed that lands of Karachi were not given to cantonment boards to sell it to private entities and inquired from the counsel if the cantonment board thinks nobody was watching its unlawful actions.
The court observed that over 250 multi-storyed buildings were constructed in the P&T Colony on the lands of federal government quarters and amenity lands and despite the court orders, the cantonment board and other civic agencies have not removed them. The court observed that land was given to the Pakistan Navy for maintenance of its cantonment but it was sold to private persons and high rises were constructed on the Chaudhry Khaleequz Zaman Road.
The court directed the federal government to remove all illegal constructions from the P&T Colony and file report within one month. The court observed that apparently illegally-constructed buildings in cantonment boards or private ownership therein was contrary to the cantonment boards laws and the Constitution and issued notices to attorney general of Pakistan, CBC, to assist the court about the status of all the lands with the cantonment boards.
The bench observed that cantonment board has allowed construction of monstrous buildings near the Clifton Flyover with dilapidated roads and heaps of garbage. The court observed that cantonment boards shall have to demolish the unauthorized multi-storyed buildings.
The court inquired from the cantonment board’s counsel as how Naval Society was established in the cantonment area by observing that such an exercise has not even spared Karsaz. The honourable judges observed that the cantonment boards have destroyed Karachi by letting private builders develop 2,000 high rise buildings and pointing towards a particular project and remarked that despite two months of continuous hearings, the project further constructed 10 floors there.
The court directed the cantonment board counsel to explain the existence of private properties inside the cantonment board properties and observed that the court shall pass an order like it passed for recovering the land of the railways and Karachi Port Trust.
Regarding the Kidney Hill land, the SC bench issued notices to the president and allottees of 24 plots of Faran Society, whose houses were illegally built at the Kidney Hill Park land. The court directed the commissioner Karachi to vacate all encroachments from the park and submit a compliance report within two weeks.
Hearing an application by the allottees of Royal Residency who claimed that the project’s owners have fled without clearing their outstanding dues, the court was informed by the counsel that the builders and owners of the Royal Residency were also engaged in construction of Creek Site Shopping Mall at DHA Phase VIII and requested the court to attach the subject property, so that outstanding dues of allottees could be settled. The court ordered the commissioner Karachi to attach Creek Site Shopping Mall Project.
Regarding the water supply to DHA, Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that DHA already has a dedicated water line but that supplies water to influentials only whereas rest of the residents have to purchase water through tankers. The court asked the DHA official to prepare a mechanism so that water could be supplied to each and every DHA resident through the pipeline.
Hearing the Karachi Port Trust land case, the court directed the KPT counsel to convert Mai Kolachi and Bath Islands into mangroves park and ensure that plantation of mangroves was started immediately. The court also disposed of applications of allottees of the KPT land for compensation and directed them to raise their claims before competent forum.
The court directed the Evacuee Property Trust to restore its encroached land in Deh Gujro and directed the police and BoR to assist them for recovery of its encroached land. The court issued notices to owner of Hyper Star building and the cantonment board for converting the land for commercial purposes.
The court also issued notices to advocate general Sindh, Sindh Building Control Authority and others on a petition against removal of marriage halls from residential areas of Korangi. The court also took notice over construction of multi-storyed building at Shahra-e-Quaideen over a drain and directed commissioner Karachi to take action against the project.