KARACHI – Opposition Leader in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi on Friday said it looked impossible to revive the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) within three months as ordered by the Supreme Court (SC). Talking to media after his meeting with the Deputy Superintendent (DS) Railways Karachi along with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) city chief, Naqvi opposed the demolition of residential areas coming in the way of the KCR, saying that in no way the project could be made functional within three months.
“The officials have assured the apex court to initiate the project within three months. However, after my meeting with the deputy superintendent Railways today, it is evident that there is no possibility of making KCR functional within the prescribed time,” the PTI leader said, and added that it could at least take four years to complete the project.
He vehemently opposed the idea of demolishing homes situated on the KCR land, without providing their dwellers alternate housing facility.
Naqvi said that as per the apex court directives, houses could only be razed to the ground once arrangements were made for providing the affectees alternate housing scheme.
“Years have passed, but not a single initiative has been taken to provide alternate land to the affectees, who were unaware of the illegality of the land at the time of purchasing,” he regretted.
He further demanded the authorities to arrest those officials of Pakistan Railways (PR) and building authority whose nexus allowed the growth of encroachments on the government land. “Action should be taken against all such culprits,” Naqvi said.
Terming it an injustice with the people of the city, the opposition leader asked as to why masses should bear the brunt of the irregularities committed by the government officials.
Speaking on the occasion, PTI Karachi chief Khurram Sher Zaman said that Pakistan Railways personnel were demolishing homes without any court orders.
“If any attempt is made to demolish the residential structures, then all MPAs of the party will stand in front of the demolition squad and shall not allow it to happen,” he said, and added the party had not raised an alarm over demolition of commercial structures, but would not allow anyone to demolish the residential structures.
In a direct reference to Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, who is PTI’s partner in the federal government, Zaman said that he should first clear encroachments from railway land in his own constituency, and then come to Karachi. “It is under the Imran Khan-led government when KCR was included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Sheikh Rasheed should hold his railway officials accountable for demolishing poor people’s homes without any authorization,” he said.