A two-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, which had taken up the appeals seeking a stay order against the evacuation of residents, suspended the SHC’s order of September 29 to demolish the building.
The SC bench also ordered the builder Abdul Razzak Khamosh to submit a security of Rs100 million, half of which to be deposited in the apex court in a fortnight while the other half in the shape of bank guarantees.
Moon Garden, located behind Aladdin Park in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Karachi, was reportedly raised in violation of building rules but it currently houses some 200 families.
The builder has been restrained by the court to not sell the apartment to any other buyer till the pendency of the case in the court.
The Supreme Court is venturing to explore solutions that may suffice reaching a final conclusion without the need of pulling down Karachi based apartments.
The apex court wondered how the builder, who is also the petitioner and represented by senior counsel Salman Akram Raja, can speak before the court on behalf of the 200 occupants when he has committed violations of the building rules.
“How can you capitalise despite demonstrating defiance,” the judge asked.
Justice Afzal also questioned the role of Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) in the matter.
“This is a tragedy that the authority was hand in glove and did not act actively when the violation was committed,” Justice Afzal regretted adding KBCA saw the contravention of the rules but remained acquiescence. “Nobody is performing their part,” the judge lamented.
Advocate Adnan Iqbal Chaudhry, appearing on behalf of the Pakistan Railways Employees Cooperatives Housing Society, pleaded that the builder had encroached upon its lands.
“The occupants were nowhere in the scene but suddenly surfaced in 2014,” he maintained, adding “it was manifest from the events that these occupants were not genuine and were placed by the builder to make his case strong”.
Accepting that violations were committed by his client, Salman Raja threw himself at the mercy of the court seeking benevolence adding he was willing to stand trial both in financial terms or in the shape of incarceration but pleaded that the building should not be demolished.
The counsel for KBCA, Advocate Zulfikar Ahmed Bhutta, argued that the builder had developed nine floors in addition to mezzanine floor without seeking prior approval without providing extra parking for extra floors and constructed 61 additional flats in addition to the approved 128.
The eight-storey residential complex is said to have been raised illegally on an encroached piece of Pakistan Railways land.
There is also a railway track, although covered with wild plantation now as it has remained unused for years after the winding up of Karachi Circular Railway, running by it.
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
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