President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda, while referring to the ongoing massive anti-encroachment drive in the city, strongly slammed political parties and bureaucrats, who remained in Sindh government from time to time during the past 25 to 30 years and also all the relevant departments as they are also equally responsible for the encroachment issue.
“Concerned departments of the government are responsible for the encroachments in Karachi and now they want to wipe out all of them so that they could save themselves and hide their wrongdoings”, he added.
In a statement issued, President KCCI categorically stated that Karachi Chamber was not against the anti-encroachment drive but this campaign was totally one-sided in which all the rubble was being passed on to the public, shopkeepers and the business community whereas those elements, who actually paved way for such illegal activities under their nose, were not being taken to task.
“These elements are taking advantage of the current situation by deliberately misinterpreting the Honorable Supreme Court’s Order to hide behind the curtain as they fear that if the situation continues to move on like this, the day will not be far when it will be their turn as well and they will also be held accountable for all their wrongdoings”, he added.
Junaid Makda said that all the major departments including SBCA, Site Limited, KMC, Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB), Board of Revenue have probably made this plan in connivance with each other to carry out the massive destruction campaign all over the city regardless of considering whether these activities being carried out under the anti-encroachment drive actually fall under the ambit of Supreme Court’s order or not. “The only intention is to save their own neck and come out of it with a clean chit”, he added.
President KCCI pointed out that illegal constructions of factories over a nullah in Site area, construction of additional illegal floors in various buildings and the difference in the actual covered area against the approved plan were not carried out single-handedly by the public but it was done in connivance with various departments including Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) who must also be punished.
He was of the view that the city was undoubtedly facing serious encroachment issue that simply cannot be denied and there are a lot of illegalities as well therefore, KCCI strongly believes that the encroachment drive must go on which is in the larger interest of the city but the citizens and members of business and industrial community cannot be solely blamed as the elements within the government also played an equal role in creating the disastrous situation.
President KCCI said, “As it has always been KCCI’s approach to take the bull by the horns, we will follow the same approach in this particular issue as well because everyone is eyeing at the Chamber therefore, we have decided to fight but KCCI would never support any lawbreaker and simply cannot ask the government to ignore them as there are a lot of illegalities in this particular issue.”
He further said that during court’s proceedings, the honorable judges are widely being misguided by DGs of all departments as they acquaint the judges with those facts only which are in their favor and never highlight the actual and complete picture with detailed ground realities.
He requested the Honorable Judiciary and the Chief Executive of the province to take notice of the wrongdoings being suffered by Karachiites whereas the punishment should not just remain confined to shopkeepers only but those, who misused powers and took bribes to give go ahead for illegal activities, must also get equal punishment.
Junaid Makda further urged Sindh Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani and Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhter to visit KCCI at the earliest in order to respond to business community’s concerns and thoroughly explain their plans for relocation of affectees at suitable alternate locations. “To minimize the grievances being faced by the affectees, the Karachi Chamber is ready to play its due role and extend full cooperation to the government in the rehabilitation activities”, he added.
Referring to the anti-encroachment operation carried out at the Empress Market, he said that the initiative to remove encroachments has undoubtedly transformed the Empress Market which is more visible now and would certainly look more beautiful after completion of the proposed renovation plan for the Market. “The Empress Market was completely ruined because, we the Karachiites, allowed it to happen. If we would had promptly raised voice against these encroachments from the very beginning, the situation would have been much better”, he added.
He stressed that workable strategies have to devised to ensure that the encroachments razed during the campaign do not resurface again either at the same old location or in any other area of the city otherwise all the efforts and resources being used to destroy the encroachments would prove to be a futile exercise.
He said, “As the anti-encroachment drive has resulted in making huge number of people completely jobless, we fear that the situation was likely to give birth to criminals, posing severe threat to the law and order situation of Karachi where peace has finally started prevailing.”