SC orders removal of wedding halls from military land

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KARACHI: The Supreme Court has ordered  removal of wedding halls from military land in Karachi. The order was given at a meeting chaired by Justice Gulzar Ahmed held at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry yesterday.

He ordered for banning commercial activities on Pak Army/ Pakistan Air Force/ Pakistan Navy Land including schools/ wedding marquees or any other commercial activity. According to his order, lands are allotted to Armed Forced for ‘Defence Purposes”  cannot be used for any other purpose or  commercial or business activity.

Informed sources disclosed that this order includes; NuePlex Cinema, Venue/ Maham Marriage Hall at COD Rashid Minhas. Marriage halls in Askari Park Sabzi Mandi. McDonald etc. at Gate 5 and 6 Malir Cantt. McDonald and Falcon Mall at PAF Base, Bahria University at Dalmia Road. Marriage halls in Rangers Head Quarter at North Nazimabad. The sources added that SBCA/ KMC/ CBC Commissioner Karachi are instructed to implement the demolition order for all buildings used for commercial activities.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that business activities on the land acquired for defense purpose were unlawful. The judge remarked that wedding halls were constructed on land sanctioned for hospitals. He ordered the authorities to establish libraries in all phases of DHA.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed is monitoring the anti-encroachment drive. He comes to Karachi every week and summons reports from government departments. On November 23, the top court had ordered the Karachi administration to raze wedding halls near Old Sabzi Mandi and Kala Pull.

It may be mentioned that Supreme Court (SC) on September 04 while hearing a suo moto case regarding the removal of billboards in Lahore had questioned the role of Pakistan Army in “property deals”. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar asked since when the army had been involved in property deals, and questioned how the army was building housing societies.

“If the army wants to make housing societies, they should make them for their own people. But they make plots and start selling them to average people,” he said during the hearing. The CJP said that “billions of rupees” are earned from the allotment and transfer of land, asking where the Defence Housing Authority’s (DHA) “billions of rupees” go.