Illegal Encroachments in Karachi

What’s at Stake

Illegal encroachments on public lands are, unfortunately, widespread in Karachi. This phenomenon not only contributes to urban flooding each year, but also to the unplanned nature of the city. Once these buildings have been allowed, either expressly or tacitly, years later the authorities order residents and businesses to vacate, resulting in hurriedly ordered demolitions. The worst affected are those residents and businesses that have been allowed to build and occupy or when a blind eye is turned towards them by the Provincial and city government authorities. People are left homeless overnight and businesses that have taken years to build are similarly lost. The demolition of Karachi’s famous Empress Market is a good illustration of this brutality. While homes, jobs and businesses that have often taken years to build and establish, are lost overnight, those responsible for giving approval, from amongst the Provincial and city government, go scot-free.

Current Status

PILAP wrote an RTI to the Provincial Government through the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, the Mayor and the Sindh Building Control Authority asking about the public officials and authorities responsible for approving plans of presumably illegal encroachments, why illegal encroachments are allowed to be built in the first place, what action is taken against such officials, and compensation provided to those whose homes and businesses are destroyed in the demolition drives.

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