Sindh should have authority to regularise old settlements on state-owned plots: Saeed Ghani

Sindh Minister for Information Archive and Labour Saeed Ghani speaks to media persons in Hyderabad on November 27, 2021. — INP/File

PESHAWAR: The provincial government wants to regularise houses built on government land as evacuation and demolition of illegally-constructed buildings affect thousands of people, said Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani on Monday.

Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, the minister spoke about the Nasla Tower debacle, saying that Sindh should have the authority to regularise old settlements on state-owned plots.

Ghani lamented that due to the demolition of illegal buildings or the evacuation of settlements, millions of people had to lose their homes.

He stated: “These people are not in a position to rebuild their homes, therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the government to save their homes.”

Sharing the example of Punjab, the minister stated that the provincial government therein is bringing an ordinance to regularise illegally-constructed housing societies, therefore, Sindh should be given the same authority.

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Imran Khan, Ghani said that even Bani Gala had to be regularised so the same could be done for poor people’s houses.

“Imran Khan lives in a 300-Kanal house, tell me what is his source of livelihood?” Ghani questioned.

Shedding light on the demolition of Nasla Tower, Ghani said that instead of taking legal action, humanitarian action should have been taken to solve the issue.

“When it comes to construction works, minor violations occur throughout Pakistan,” he said, adding that things are made easier for areas where the rich reside.

“There are examples where government land has been illegally occupied for the last 50 years,” he said.

‘Those who approved Nasla Tower plan be punished first’

Two days ago, Ghani had demanded that those who are responsible for issuing construction permits for the Nasla Tower building should be held responsible and punished.

Speaking during Geo News‘ show “Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Saath,” the minister said the guilty party — whether it be the Sindh government or the Nasla Tower builder — should be punished rather than those who bought the flats.

“For sake of argument if I say the builder is at fault, Sindh government is at fault, Saeed Ghani is at fault or even if Murad Ali Shah is at fault, punish them first,” he said.

He called on the courts to hand exemplary punishments to those responsible for the construction of the tower rather than those who were residing in it.

“I don’t think they [Nasla Tower affectees] are even 1% responsible,” he stated. “When they bought flats or shops there, I am sure they must have checked all the SBCA approvals and maps before doing so,” he added.

Speaking about providing compensation to affectees, he said it is “not an easy task” as there are a lot of [illegally constructed] buildings in Karachi and it would take billions of rupees and 10-15 years to fully compensate them.

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