SHC puts top officials on notice in island handing over case

General Karachi

Karachi: The Sindh High Court SHC on Friday put chief secretary, secretary Ministry of Port & Shipping, Chairman Port Qasim Authority and other officials on notice in a petition against handing over of two islands of Sindh Bhindar and Dingi for building safe city.

Headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, the division bench was seized with the petition of Shahid Hussain Soomro seeking injunction against the safe city project. The petitioner, through his counsel MB Khatian, submitted that Chairman of Bahria Town Malik Riaz and US Investment Group Thomas Kramer has inked the MoU for the Island City project.

He submitted that under the project Bahria Town in collaboration with the foreign companies associated with prominent US investor Thomas Kramer would construct safe city on two islands of Sindh — Bhindar and Dingi, some 3.5 kilometres off the Karachi shore.

He stated that a private firm without following legal formalities has entered an agreement for building safe city in Karachi. He said that islands, Bhindar and Dingi, are the property of Sindh and without obtaining sanction to proposal or NOC from provincial government, islands could not be handed over.

He said that Chairman Port Qasim Authority is not authorized to hand over Islands of Sindh, adding people of province has shown feelings of anger over such practice.

He submitted that said agreement is contrary to fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19A of Constitution of Pakistan. Citing chief secretary, Secretary Ministry of Port & Shipping, Chairman Port Qasim Authority, senior member of Board of Revenue and CEO of Bahria Town as respondents, he prayed to court to set aside agreement signed for building Safe City Project.

After hearing preliminary arguments, the court issued a notice to respondents ad put off the hearing till date to be fixed later by court’s office.