CJP Gulzar laments current condition of Karachi, said city was once ‘jewel of Pakistan’

KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Thursday took various officials to task for the condition of Karachi’s infrastructure while hearing a case regarding the removal of encroachments in the metropolis and renewing the original face of the city.

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A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Ahmed, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah took up the case in the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry.

During the proceedings, the top judge asked for the reason behind the situation in Karachi and said: “This is not some village, at one point Karachi used to the jewel of Pakistan.

“What a mess you have created in your self-serving interests. Entire parks, graveyards and residential plots have vanished.

“You want to run Karachi, then run it and show us.”

The top judge asked Sindh Advocate General Salman Talibuddin if various illegal constructions in the city had been removed.

“Tell us, what is the situation of parks and playgrounds?” Justice Ahmed inquired.

He told the advocate general to read Article 140 of the Constitution, which reads: “Each Province shall, by law, establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments.”

“Doesn’t this article apply to Sindh?” he asked.

Throughout the proceedings, the various officials continued to trade blame. The provincial chief secretary told the court that the Sindh government had given most of the authority to the Karachi mayor.

“The mayor is wrong in saying he has no authority,” the chief secretary said.

The top judge inquired about various aspects of the city’s infrastructure including the sewerage system.

“All the money goes in your pockets,” the top judge expressed his displeasure, asking if any money is spent of Karachi’s citizens.

“Don’t be a master in front of us, you are an employee of Pakistan,” Justice Ahmed told the chief secretary.

“You people wear a suit and sit in an office. Tell us this, what street did you visit last,” he said adding: “Tell us why you people don’t make the city beautiful.”

Taking Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar to task, the top judge asked Akhtar if he had constructed any roads.

Responding to this, Akhtar said they had made small streets in the Nazimabad area of the city.

“There are no small lanes there, present a record of how many roads you have made,” the top judge said and asked him to tell the court what he had done for the city.

Addressing the municipalities secretary, Justice Ahmed said: “You may someone’s favourite but there are no favourites here.”

The court also asked the police about their strategy for removing encroachments, in response to which Additional IG Ghulam Nabi Memon said their job was to provide security.

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