The Karachi city administration has asked the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) to get 382 residential buildings in the city declared dangerous vacated, though no time frame has been given in this regard. The SBCA officials have only been warned that they will be held responsible if any untoward incidents happen. At a recent meeting chaired by Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani, a SBCA official said most of the dangerous buildings are in district South. There are 44 such buildings in Lyari. The official said that owners of dangerous buildings had been served with notices to get their buildings vacated, but they had yet to act on the notices. The meeting discussed the idea of disconnecting their utilities to get these buildings vacated. The issue of marriage halls built on residential and amenity plots also came up for discussion at the meeting. It was decided that district administrations and the SBCA would jointly take action to remove illegally-built wedding halls. Korangi’s additional deputy commissioner disclosed that 45 marriage halls had been illegally constructed on residential plots in Korangi.
Since old and dangerous buildings mostly collapse during the rainy season, it becomes imperative to get dangerous buildings vacated before the start of the next rainy season. When it comes to saving human life complacency or dilly-dallying becomes unpardonable. In December last year, a six-storey residential building in Soomra Gali, Ranchhore Line, collapsed. Fortunately, residents had evacuated the building just hours before it caved in after they saw cracks in walls. A detailed report of the losses has been provided to the commissioner’s office. Press reports say residents of the building are still waiting for the government’s response, and those rendered homeless are still staying with their relatives. Those to be evacuated from dangerous buildings should not be left to fend for themselves.
Party men too
Still struggling to win back the disgruntled allies at the Centre, the PTI is now faced with disgruntled party men too, in Punjab. A group of 20 MPAs, led by Sardar Shahabuddin, has added to the ruling party’s headache of keeping the coalition intact — both at the Centre and in Punjab. The estranged legislators — half of whom belong to South Punjab — are openly expressing their resentment on “being overlooked in the distribution of funds for public welfare” and calling for the “ignored” districts of DG Khan, Bhakkar, Layyah, Vehari, Hafizabad, Chiniot, Sargodha and Rawalpindi to be developed like Lahore and Faisalabad.
The group of 20 has gathered under the banner of ‘Supremacy of Parliament’ in a clear expression of their disapproval of the Centre’s hold on the affairs of the country’s biggest province. This gives credence to the claims being made in the media that people’s representatives, in general, are unhappy with Punjab being run by the federal government through the chief secretary and the inspector general of police, and consider Punjab CM Usman Buzdar as a mere figurehead with no say in the affairs that matter.
This rebellion may well be an indication of the changing political times. It may well be a fake expression of displeasure, actually meant to pave the way for a change in the government set-up. It reminds one of a similar rising by a group of eight MNAs and MPs from South Punjab barely two months before the last general election held on July 25, 2018. The group — in the name of the rights of the deprived people of South Punjab — defected from the PML-N, then ruling both the Centre and Punjab, to join the PTI, sensing the change in the wind direction. But on joining the PTI and later becoming a part of the ruling coalition, the group named ‘Junoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz’ hardly did anything towards carving out a separate province for the people of southern Punjab. The politics of vested interest. Isn’t it?
A CEC finally