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Sindh to introduce law to decide status of illegal buildings: Murtaza Wahab

02 Dec, 2021
Karachi Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab the law's basic purpose is to protect people's fundamental rights.
Karachi Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab the law's basic purpose is to protect people's fundamental rights.

KARACHI: Karachi Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab has announced that the Sindh government would bring an ordinance to stop immediate action against buildings made in violation of rules and regulations, reported Aaj News on Wednesday.

While addressing a press conference in Karachi, Wahab, who is also the spokesperson of the Sindh government, said that a commission would be set up to decide whether a building should be regularized and in what parameters.

“The law's basic purpose is to protect people's fundamental rights. I hope that we will be allowed to work so that people's lives and properties are protected within the ambit of the law,” Wahab said.

The Karachi administrator claimed that Punjab had a similar law to regularise illegal buildings.

“Two weeks ago, we [PPP] had presented a resolution in Sindh Assembly to draw the government’s attention to legislate on the matter people's houses being razed,” Wahab said.

He said that the resolution demanded action against constructions done on waterways, as it affects the entire city, but suggested regularization of houses and shops that have not been built on waterways, and where people had been living for many years.

“Politicians who held press conferences at Nasla Tower did not support the resolution in the assembly but PPP managed to get it adopted with a majority,” he added.

He said that the Sindh government has prepared a draft bill in light of this resolution.

The draft bill has been sent to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah by the law department, Wahab said, adding the chief minister would send the ordinance to the government today.

"[It is] hoped that the governor will verify it, follow the chief minister and Sindh cabinet's advice and approve it so that it is made a law," he said.

On Monday, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani said that the provincial government should be given permission to regularise construction that is in violation of rules and regulations as it impacts millions of citizens.

"We don't want illegal construction to happen or houses to be made in the wrong places. But where the number of affectees goes into millions, who will not be able to remake their homes, then it is the responsibility of the government to save their homes,” the minister said while talking to reporters in Peshawar.

Ghani in his statement said that small violations happen during construction work everywhere. "Sometimes citizens make their homes on state land and end up living there for 50 years," he said.

Giving an example of other buildings constructed in violations of the rules, he said: "Notice was taken, but because it concerned the apartments of some major people, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, it was regularised and fined Rs18 billion."

Last month, the Sindh Assembly adopted a resolution asking the PPP government for protection of the already illegally-built residential houses on encroached lands despite the opposition’s rejection.

This article was first published in Business Recorder on Dec 1, 2021.