Gujjar Nala case: SC asks for clear timelines, land allocation

Gujjar Nala


KARACHI: The Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry resumed its hearing of the contentious Gujjar Nala case after issuing a contempt notice to the departing Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, due to alleged non-compliance with a previous court decision concerning the rehabilitation of Gujjar Nala evacuees.

Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, addressing Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab during the hearing, stated, “These are your people; settle them soon.” He emphasised the urgent need for a resolution and added, “Today, they are chanting slogans against you; tomorrow, they will chant in your favour,” highlighting the fickle nature of public sentiment.

In response, Mayor Wahab mentioned that the cheques were prepared for disbursement, but the affectees weren’t collecting them. He also said, “We have allocated space in the Malir Development Authority for the rehabilitation of the affectees.”

However, the lawyer representing the nala affectees pointed out that while provisions exist in the budget documents, there’s been a lack of active implementation.

The Chief Secretary of Sindh, also present in the court, asserted that the immediate allocation of both land and cheques to the affectees was the viable solution.

The court, recognising the need for external consultation with those affected, directed the Chief Secretary and Karachi Commissioner to engage in thorough discussions on the matter. “Designate a timeline, specify the place, and make it public,” the court advised.

Following a major flooding of  Karachi, largely due to obstructed waterways within the city. The Supreme Court backed the Sindh government in evicting thousands living alongside the nalas (narrow waterways) in Karachi in 2021. The move had resulted in the demolition of approximately 8,000 homes, displacing tens of thousands.

Sindh government had promised earliest rehabilitation of the affectees.

Published in HumNews August 17, 2023