Karachi: The Sindh Government has conceded that it has no authority to control an area up to 70 per cent of Karachi as the same was being controlled by different federal land-owning agencies.
The startling disclosure to this effect came as the Sindh Information and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah along with Sindh Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani addressed a joint press conference.
According to the Sindh Information minister, various federal land-owning agencies, which controlled up to 70 per cent area of Karachi, included different cantonments, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority, Karachi Port Trust, Pakistan Railways, and other such institutions.
The Sindh Information minister said that even though the provincial government had control over just 30 per cent portion of the city, its entire machinery had worked round-the-clock all over Karachi without any discrimination to mitigate sufferings of the people during the recent rain emergency.
For instance, he mentioned that a 12 kilometres-long portion of the main thoroughfare of the city, which connected the Karachi Airport with the famous Metropole traffic intersection, was controlled by different cantonments. Even then, he said, the Sindh government took well care of this road during the latest spell of monsoon rains.
Ghani said that the amenity land in the city in Karachi including the space reserved for parks and drains had been illegally occupied in the past by unscrupulous elements but such an anti-social activity had taken place before his Pakistan Peoples Party had come to power in the province.
He said that it was quite easy to occupy amenity land in Karachi for constructing illegal settlements but it was enormously difficult for the government to demolish these encroachments owing to the human factor.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said that in the past parks had been demolished in Karachi to build commercial plazas as the government would not allow such an illegal practice any more as the amenity space reserved for the purpose would only be utilized for constructing parks.
The latest statement of the Sindh Information minister is reflective of the fact that no single municipal authority is present to manage Karachi as several civic and land-owning agencies do the same job simultaneously that hampers proper growth of the city. Karachi’s Mayor also often complains that he lacks power to manage affairs of the city.