Karachi: The Sindh government has decided to forcefully counter the increased land grabbing in Karachi in the courts, besides taking administrative steps to curb the menace.

A high-level meeting was held in this regard on Wednesday, with Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro in chair, attended by officials of the board of revenue, and land utilization department as well as the law officers working in the city.

Soomro told media after the meeting that the provincial government was going to launch a drive against land grabbing in the city, and the law officers have been directed to provide protection to the government land on legal grounds.

Sindh Law Secretary Ghulam Nabi Shah said that law officers have been directed to ensure their presence in courts to counter pleas of granting stay orders in land encroachment cases as the government was facing a lot of difficulties in vacating the land. According to the law secretary, only in Malir area 600 stay orders have been obtained by groups of land grabbers.

Malir, Bin Qasim and Gadap Towns were the worst affected for a long time as land mafia has been very active there. Hundreds of acres of government land were encroached in various parts of the area during the last few months only. The police was also seen as either helpless or involved in the menace, because the land grabbers have political and influential groups backing.

The law secretary said that besides Malir, the city’s defunct District West is also affected by this menace, adding that the government also directed the revenue officers to ensure timely submission of comments on land matters, enabling the law officers to effectively pursue the cases in courts. According to him, the revenue department would appoint a focal person who would remain in constant contact with the law officers for these matters.

Talking about the administrative steps, Shah said the government set up the Anti-Encroachment Force for a timely response to land grabbing attempts. He also said special courts and tribunals would be set up for a speedy trial of land grabbing cases, so that culprits involved in the menace could be punished rapidly.

The law secretary said the Law Department was in contact with the Sindh High Court’s chief justice for getting services of session judges for the courts. He said that retired judges of high courts would be appointed as head of tribunals. Responding to a question he said that according to the law, one court would be set up to handle cases of at least six towns. However, he added, one session judge could look after a few courts at a time.

Source: Daily Times