Protests by builders erupted on Shahrah-e-Faisal following orders by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed to demolish Nasla Tower within a week.
Police on Friday baton-charged the people, who staged a protest against the demolition of Nasla Tower, a residential building located in Sindhi Muslim Society, recently declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
The protestors tried to enter the building to halt the demolition process of the building. The police tried to stop the protestors and later restored to baton-charge and fired gas shells as the protestors kept on coming.
The deputy chairman ABAD and several other people got injured in the shelling.
Earlier, Mohsin Shekhani, chairman ABAD reached the demolition site to show solidarity with the protestors.
Talking to the newsmen, Shekhani said everyone is afraid of demolition of their buildings, one should tell us from whom we have to take permission for the construction in Karachi?
We have stopped all the construction projects in Karachi as we don’t have any other option. “We have to convince our investors.”
He announced to expand the protest across the country.
Earlier in the day, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed reprimand Jamaat Islami Karachi Amir, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman Butt in the courtroom when tried to speak during the hearing of the Nasla Tower demolition case in Karachi’s SC Registry.
A protest call was given a day ago by Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) Chairman Mohsin Shaikhani. The association has declared that work on any of its construction sites will remain halted. It maintains that the builders were in possession of no-objection certificates and despite that, the demolition work on Nasla Tower was ordered.
The protesters, who had gathered in large numbers in the afternoon hours, attempted to stop the demolition work. As a result, the flow of traffic was severely affected on the road considered to be the city’s main artery.
Contingents of police and Rangers were deployed to the site of the protest to disperse the demonstrators. They baton-charged the crowd and used tear gas shells in an attempt to dissuade it from blocking the roads or resorting to violence.
According to traffic police, the track from Shahrah-e-Faisal to Shahrah-e-Qaideen started to become choked and as protesters continued to advance, they had no choice but to use force and fire teargas shells. The protesters, however, insist that they were gathered peacefully and even then were subjected to the use of force.
According to media report, Shaikhani was injured and was seen limping away. He tried to speak to the media but it appears law enforcement officers did not allow any media talk as they continued to try and clear the road.
ABAD member Owais Thanvi, speaking to media, protested against the building’s demolition despite the builders having obtained an NOC and against a baton-charge by the police on what he termed peaceful protesters.
He said the NOC had been obtained from Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA). “Tell us the name of the institution where we can obtain a (permissible) NOC then,” he said.
“If there was a problem, why did SBCA grant us an NOC then?” he asked.
Thanvi said that people had invested billions into the project and now they are being “forced out of their homes”.
The ABAD member said that the association wants Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and other government members to speak to them.
He said he can attest to the ABAD chairman and other members of the association being baton-charged and to teargas shells being fired at them.
Thanvi said that if there is a regularisation law, then it must be implemented, as is done in Islamabad. “If Islamabad’s buildings can be regularised, why not Karachi’s?”
Meanwhile, demolition work by labourers on the 15-storey building, which consists of four parking and 11 residential levels, continued.
District administration, anti-encroachment staff, Rangers and police personnel are currently present on the spot to continue monitoring the situation and to maintain law and order.
The police have established a “red line”, a point that is within 200 metres of the tower, beyond which they are not allowing anyone to advance.