The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has ordered Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab to restore four lakes in the PECHS area of the city where Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said he used to go fishing in his childhood.
Two of the lakes were in the vicinity of the famous Jheel Park, the court was told on Wednesday as it heard cases about encroachments in Karachi.
Amber Alibhai from Shehri, an NGO working for environment protection, told the SC that the lands of at least 54 parks had been encroached upon and some of them were reduced to garbage collection points.
She claimed one piece of the enroached land was occupied by the Darul Aman Society and the other by the Foundation School.
She also told the court that four lakes in the PECHS area had been filled up with sand and the land was allotted to private people. Shops have been illegally constructed on the land of a park adjacent to the Jheel Park, she said.
The chief justice addressed Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab saying “Have you put an end to four lakes in Karachi?”
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said he used to go fishing at these lakes and play around them. It was such a beautiful area populated by civilized people, he reminisced.
“What have you done to the entire area,” he questioned Wahab.
The administrator said the area has been “commercialized.” The local government has restored a public park in one corner of the Jheel Park, planted trees in another, said Wahab adding that a football ground was also located in the area.
The Sindh Advocate General told the court that the lakes had already dried before being repurposed.
Administrator Wahab assured the court that the authorities would act on the orders and seek help from experts for the demarcation of the lakes.