What a mess
By Yasmeen Ali
“The builder, Abdul Razzak Khamosh, owned a 363-yard plot in Gulshan-e-Maymar, which he replaced with a 4,000-square-yard plot at the current location, in connivance with the KMC and revenue board officials. Subsequently, the Moon Garden project was issued survey number 309 by the KMC. The builder soon started construction on the plot. At the time, however, some officials of the KMC raised objections after which the construction was halted and the case was taken to court. The builder allegedly greased the palms of top officials of the KMC and the revenue department once again, after which the then KMC assistant land director, Altaf Hamid Khan, issued a no-objection certificate for the project,” an official told newspaper.” (November 13, 2015)
“According to the details, police along with female constables, reached Moon Garden to evacuate the flats built on Pakistan Railways’ property. The residents had no idea of the fraud while purchasing flats. Angry residents blocked a nearby road to record their protest but as police moved them from the road, they went to the entrance of the building and protested against police and court’s orders. Poor victims of the scam were left homeless as police sealed 20 flats in the supervision of Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP). Grieved women plead for justice from the rulers and courts.” (November 13, 2015)
“Residents of the Moon Garden Flats in Karachi announced on Friday to register a case against the builder and have submitted a plea in SHC seeking to become a party in it.” (November 13, 2015)
“Residents protested and chanted slogans against the move and the government’s departments saying that they had used their lifelong savings to buy the flats and now have been robbed of it. Protestors also lamented why the construction of the building had not been halted 15 years ago if it was illegal. The court’s ultimatum for residents to evacuate the building expires Thursday evening. According to the details, Moon Garden flats are built on Railways’ land in Gulistan-e-Johar, Karachi. The building was sealed two days ago by order of the court. A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court led by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah gave a deadline of 24 hours for the building’s evacuation. Official documents show the project was launched in 1998 and its map was approved after ten years in 2009. Block A and B maps were approved by the Cantonment Board and the BCA had approved maps of Block C, D, E and F.” (November 12, 2015)
“According to the court’s orders Moon Garden Apartment Complex is built on a land owned by Pakistan Railways in Gulistan-e-Johar, Karachi, and should be sealed to return the land to its parent institution. The court moved against the illegal residential building when the Railways Employees Cooperative Society filed a petition against the illegal construction on its land.” (November 12, 2015)
“Meanwhile, Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said the Pakistan Railways was not in favour of eviction of the residents of the plaza. He said the society’s management itself awarded this land to the builder without getting permission from Pakistan Railways and that action should be taken against both the society management as well as the builder. He also clarified that the Pakistan Railways was neither appellant nor respondent in this case.
“Giving details about the Railways Employees Cooperative Society, Karachi, Rafique said the Pakistan Railways provided this land on 99-years lease in 1988 after fulfilling all legal requirements and received Rs1,297,000. As per rules, the Pakistan Railways does not interfere after giving its lands on lease,” added the minister.
In a latest development, Sindh Local Governments Minister Nasir Hussain Shah claimed that the land where the Moon Garden building was located belonged to the Sindh government. He also offered legal assistance to the dwellers in the case.
It may be mentioned that the SHC had, on Wednesday, ordered the police authorities to arrest the builder, Abdul Razak Khamosh, and produce him before the court on November 18.” (Pakistan Today)
As children bicker over candy, no one is willing to own the people who paid money to buy the apartments in the building. The residents of the 180 apartments now have nowhere to go. “I was supposed to shift [into the apartment] next month,” said Mrs Ali, who was sitting outside the apartment block. “We had recently been given possession of the apartment and had no idea the land was disputed.”
Kanwal, who has been living in the project since 2008, said they received possession of their apartment after verifications from the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA). “Our electricity and water connections have been suspended,” she lamented.
So where do residents of the apartment go? Under the sky? Do they have enough money for another house? How many poured all they have in this roof? How many lost everything they have with this roof?
Justice is desirable, yet how many get it in a world infested with selective rights, corruption and punching the underdog. Whereas justice means to give a person his or her due, to be fair it adds another dimension to awarding justice. Justice may treat two or more equally, but when a careful analysis of two people is made, realising ground realities for both are different and prioritising needs of both. That’s being fair. That’s real justice.
Langston Hughes rightly said:
‘That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.”
Will anyone give justice with fairness to residents/occupants/owners of Moon Garden Building?
Or is it asking for the moon?