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Sindh

‘Officials shy of Afghan settlements’

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KARACHI:

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) and the Advocate General Sindh on a petition regarding dismantling of encroachment in Afghan Basti.

A refugee camp was set up by the then government near the Sohrab Goth area of Karachi for the Afghan people escaping their war ravaged country in the 1980s.

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Sohrab Goth till the 1980s was a suburban area where many apartment blocks were under construction. The Afghan refugees, over the period of time encroached beyond the refugee camps and became part of the social fabric of the multi-ethnic metropolis.

However, the encroachment on apartment buildings and plots has caused a legal battle, with no authority willing to come head on with the issue.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted before the SHC bench, headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi that the land meant for developing housing scheme and flats has been occupied since the 1990s, but nothing has been done even though the Supreme Court had ordered the removal of these encroachments on a petition of Naimatullah Khan.

Justice Rizvi remarked that if the Supreme Court has already given the order, what does the petitioner wants from the SHC.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the concerned authorities were afraid of going to the tent settlement of Afghan refugees. This is true because this court has also given several orders in the past but nothing has happened, the bench remarked.

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The counsel further submitted that there were also parks and other amenity plots there for general public. The court wondered why its decisions were not implemented! The counsel submitted that if the court handed an order now, then the situation might improve.

On this, the court issued notices to the KDA and the Advocate General Sindh directing them to submit their response.

Meanwhile, another SHC bench took up a petition regarding allotment of alternative living quarters to the employees of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) Jahangir Park.

The court had ordered the Water Board employees to vacate the KMC quarters immediately. It ordered that all illegal residents, including the families of deceased and retirees, should be evicted from their quarters within 10 days and directed the Water Board director to inform the court. The court also ordered that the eligible KMC employees should be allotted alternate living quarters immediately.

The KMC’s Jahangir Park employees have taken the stance in their petition that their quarters were vacated on the pretext of Jahangir Park renovation. Although alternative quarters have been allotted to them, but those were already occupied, the petitioners claimed.

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They further maintained that house rent has been deducted from their salary for the last 17 years, but they are not being provided residences.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2022.



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Sindh

Official suspended for using ‘inappropriate language’ with widow

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KARACHI:

Residents of Federal Residential Colony have been seething with anger over the alleged use of inappropriate language by a top officer of the Estate Office Karachi with a widow during an eviction operation on Friday.

A video clip of the incident, which was recorded on a cell-phone camera, was shared in a closed WhatsApp group by a member of the FC Area Union Committee. It has gone viral on social media since then. The clip shows a widow pleading with Muhammad Ayub, Director of Estate Office Karachi, outside her flat during the eviction operation.

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The woman says: “I am a widow.” Ayub cuts her short, saying, “Then get married.” The woman says, “I don’t have a house.” Ayub again interjects, “Then get married and have your own family and home.” He, then, turns to his department staff and asks them to vacate the flat. 

The FC Area Residence Committee has condemned the use of “inappropriate language” by the Estate Office officer. A neighbourer of the widow said that FC Area is a colony of federal government employees and the Estate Office Karachi is authorised to allot houses and flats here.

“Director Estate Office Karachi Mohammad Ayub, along with his staff, came to Flat No. 5, Block F13, on Friday to vacate the widow’s flat,” the neighbourer, Mohammad Ahmar, told The Express Tribune. “He spoke rudely and used inappropriate language when the woman pleaded for time to find a new accommodation,” he added.

Also read: Traffic police use foul language with drivers: APOTOA

FC Area Union leader Mohammad Nadeem said that it is no doubt the Estate Office’s job to vacate illegal flats and the union does not interfere in it. “However, no one has the right to ask a widow to get married again? We condemn this use of inappropriate language,” he added.

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Nadeem demanded that the prime minister and the federal housing minister have the matter investigated and order action against the officer.

Estate Officer Muhammad Ayub, on his part, defended the eviction of the flat, saying that the action was taken as per law. However, he regretted the use of “inappropriate words” in conversation with the widow. “I uttered the words inadvertently which hurt the sentiments of the woman,” he added. “I regret it and I’m ready to personally apologise to the widow.” 

Officer suspended

According to a notification, issued on Saturday by the Ministry of Housing and Works, Islamabad, Muhammad Ayub, presently posted as Director, Estate, has been placed under suspension with immediate effect and until further orders. The officer has been directed to report to the Ministry of Housing and Works immediately.



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City grapples with spurt in dengue cases

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HYDERABAD/KARACHI:

While a spurt in dengue cases appears to have overwhelmed hospitals in Karachi, health officials confirmed first death from the vector-borne disease in Hyderabad on Thursday night when a 19-year-old died at the Civil Hospital.

Karachi saw highest single-day count of dengue cases of 218 on Thursday as the number of cases in the city reached 5,492 so far this month, and 6,268 for the whole year.

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The highest count of dengue cases, 76, was reported from East district followed by 72 in Central, 23 in South, 20 in Korangi, 12 in Malir, eight in Keamari, and seven in West.

Medical experts have warned citizens that papaya leaf extract increases the risk of diarrhoea which further causes weakness. Affected people should drink water and fruit juice, they said.

Though floodwater is receding in parts of Sindh, many parts of the province are still swamped which provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Hence, malaria and dengue, both mosquito-borne aliments, have broken out there.

Over 6,000 cases of dengue, including 31 deaths, and 12,210 of malaria have surfaced in the province in the last two months, according to a report of the Sindh Health Department.

The department’s statistics, however, show that the dengue outbreak has been mostly confined to Karachi where all the dengue-caused deaths have happened except one in Hyderabad.

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Some 289 dengue cases surfaced in six districts of Hyderabad division, 277 in Mirpurkhas, 45 in Nawabshah, 35 in Sukkur and 25 in Larkana divisions. Like Karachi, a majority of the patients reported with dengue symptoms in those five divisions in September.

Some 6,535 fixed camps and 7,322 mobile camps, providing health services to the rain and flood displaced people, screened 251,587 patients having symptoms typical of malaria. However, only 12,210 among them tested positive.

The department claims that more than 2.79 million patients have been treated at the camps over the last two months. The department’s camps treated 1.851 million patients and those of the Peoples Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) 942,284 patients.

On September 20 alone, some 78,242 patients were examined. An overwhelming majority of the patients treated at the camps suffered from skin diseases because people either have to wade through or use floodwater. The number of such patients has been recorded at 636,729.

Another 577,286 patients, mostly children, were treated for diarrhea. In the month of August, 99,629 children of less than five years of age and 102,395 children of above five years of age were treated for watery diarrhea.

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Likewise, 8,873 children of less than five years of age and 11,311 of over five years were attended at the medical camps in August and 5,303 and 6,922, respectively, in September.

The medical camps also registered 688 dog-bite and 134 snake-bite cases. The department claims that they have a stock of 86,021 rabies vaccines and 16,554 anti-snake venom doses. The rains and flood caused partial damage to 917 buildings of the health department besides destroying 165 health facilities, including 299 in Hyderabad, 259 in Mirpurkhas, 196 in Nawabshah, 194 in Larkana, and 128 in Sukkur divisions.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2022.



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Sindh

Four more flood victims die

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KARACHI:

Out of 4.7614 million cropped area, 3.773 million acres have been destroyed in recent rains and flash floods across the province, Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said in a press statement on Friday.

The minister said that four more precious lives have been lost and rain related deaths have risen to 728, while 8422 people injured. Another 26,506 cattle were reported to have perished, taking death toll of livestock to 340,015.

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He added that it is top priority of Sindh government to provide relief to the farmers.

In order to provide relief to the farmers, the Sindh government has fixed the support price of wheat at Rs4,000 per kg for the next year crop.

According to the report of the Works and Services department as many as 2548 government buildings have been destroyed by the recent rains and floods including schools, basic health units, and others, ‘ the minister said. He said that the Sindh government has formed committees to assess the actual data of the damages, which will start their survey from comming Monday.

Sindh sends police to Islamabad

Contingents of Sindh police have started going to Islamabad in view of possible protests in the federal capital.

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The Islamabad police have requested for 30,000 personnel from the provinces to help control the law and order situation after the call of sit-in and protest by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan in Islamabad.

Sindh IG Ghulam Nabi Memon issued instructions to Additional IG Training, Additional IG Karachi, DIG Training, DIGs, SSPs of districts and other concerned officials to arrange personnel for performing security duties during the sit-in in Islamabad.

As per orders, police of various districts started sending troops, while more personnel lists are also being mustered up for the trip to capital.

A substantial number of Sindh police officers and officials are busy in the efforts for the rehabilitation of the flood victims.

 

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Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2022.



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