Gulberg police released three Karachi Bachao Tehreek members, who were detained for opposing Gujjar nullah anti-encroachment operations Sunday afternoon.
On Sunday, a team from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation anti-encroachment department reached the Farooq-e-Azam Colony in FB Area Block-12 with heavy machinery to destroy houses built along the sewer.
KBT organizer Khurram Ali, Abid Asghar and others also visited the site. They told KMC staff that residents had filed a case with an anti-encroachment court, which is likely to arrest the demolition of the house. KBT members said the court had asked for answers from the authorities on April 14 and that until then, the demolition of certain houses had been postponed.
KMC staff told KBT representatives that they did not destroy the house whose owner had been granted a residence permit. But the demolition of the house mentioned by the KBT members has not yet been detained, they said.
There was a heated argument between the two sides, after which KMC officials called the police. Gulberg police reached the venue and detained KBT Chairman Khurram Ali, Abid Asghar, Bashir, Shayan and Sheeraz.
Ali told SAMAA Digital that they went to the Farooq-e-Azam Colony to support residents’ efforts to save their homes.
“I told them that the residents had posted a notice issued to the authorities on their house and asked them to set aside this house for two days,” he said.
KBT organizers accused KMC staff of threatening them with dire consequences before calling the police to arrest them.
KMC Anti-Encroachment Department Deputy Director Masroor Iqbal said staff were busy with the anti-encroachment movement when some people came and tried to stop it.
“One of them, Khurram (KBT organizer) told me to show me the demolition notice of the house and I asked why I had to show him because he is not a resident of the area,” he said.
Iqbal said he told them they would not touch the houses that the court had granted residency permits, but they could not spare the rest.
Khurram and his colleagues attacked KMC staff and he had no choice but to call the police, he added.
However, the police later released the KBT representatives on the guarantee that they would not take over the law or interfere with government business again.
Residents of the Blok-12 and Blok-17 FB Areas filed a case in the anti-encroachment court on April 3, asking him to stop KMC from destroying their homes built on “leased land”.
They said that their plot had been legally leased by the landlord agent and they built their house after fulfilling all the formalities.
The court has summoned the chief secretary of Sindh, director general of the Sindh Authority Katchi Abadi, administrator of the KMC, director of anti-encroachment of the KMC and deputy commissioner of the District Center along with written replies regarding the demolition of houses in these areas.
KMC has been working to expand Gujjar nullah. It is one of three rainwater channels to be widened to ensure smooth flow of rainwater. The other two are Mehmoodabad and Orangi nullahs.
The Sindh government decided to eliminate encroachment around this water channel after the urban floods in August 2020 in the city.