Karachi: According to police, five persons were detained on Wednesday for preventing the demolition of seven residential structures in Sultanabad close to the US Consulate.
The demolition of homes along three significant drains in the city was being opposed by the Karachi Bachao Tehreek, an alliance of several political and civil society organizations.
In Sultanabad, close to the US Consulate, it was reported that working-class locals had been detained for ‘peacefully protesting against the destruction of their homes.
According to KBT convenor Khurram Nayar, Mukhtiar Abro, the deputy commissioner of Keamari, demanded the locals leave their homes on Monday night because they would be demolished due to “security concerns” for the foreign delegation.
Police detained five demonstrators, and the District of Columbia claims that unlawfully constructed “high-rise” buildings have been built on small pieces of land.
According to Mr. Nayar, the residents had already received a stay order from the Sindh High Court a week prior.
Despite this, the area deputy commissioner oversaw the start of the destruction of seven residential structures on Tuesday.
He said that some locals attempted to record the demolition process and fled to their homes when law enforcement intervened; however, five of them were later captured by police.
The activists eventually arrived at the Jackson police station where they were first held. They were then brought to the Docks police station, where an accusation of “attempted murder, riots, and interaction with the police” was filed against them.
The KBT chief noted that the detained citizens were brought before a relevant court, which remanded them for two days in police detention.
According to Mr. Khurram, the residential structures were being demolished because of a “perceived security danger” to the UC consulate general.
He claimed that the locals had built the buildings and had also obtained layout approval from the relevant authorities. In addition, two consular officials had also apparently visited and “approved” construction operations in the past.
On the other side, DC-Keamari Abro informed Dawn that seven high-rise structures had been constructed illegally on small parcels.
The DC stated that “these structures constituted a threat to people’s lives; hence they are being demolished,” adding that the SHC had not issued any stay orders.
The DC said, “We will not evict the people, but top stories [of their homes] will be destroyed.”
Five persons were detained, according to Keamari SSP Fida Husain Janwari, after they had been booked for resisting the “anti-encroachment campaign.”
The police were present, the officer continued, to protect representatives from the tax department, anti-encroachment, and Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA).
The SSP stated that these seven structures were being razed because, according to DC Keamari, they were “illegal.”
Additionally, the DC, according to him, informed the police that the stay order had been lifted. As a result, he noted that the anti-encroachment campaign began on Tuesday and ran through Wednesday.