SBCA asked to demolish Jahangir Khan Sports Complex

By Bhagwandas
Published Sep 22, 2014 06:27am

KARACHI: The Quaid-i-Azam Mazar Management Board (QMMB) has “requested” the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) to demolish the illegally constructed Jahangir Khan Sport Complex and report compliance, it is learnt here reliably.
According to highly-placed sources, the height ceiling for buildings prescribed in the law for the area is 17 feet while the controversial sports complex building is 51 feet high — some 34 feet higher than the legally allowed limit.
The sources said that an official of the QMMB, which comes under the Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, had sent a communication to the SBCA director general on the subject of “Illegal construction above podium level in violation of height restriction within 1.2 kilometres radius of the Mazar-i-Quaid on Jahangir Khan Squash Complex, Kashmir Road, Karachi”.

In his Sept 4, 2014, communication titled “Reminder — I” to SBCA DG Manzoor Qadir the QMMB official Mohammad Arif says that this was in continuation of his office’s earlier letter No Q.46 (B-6)/569 dated Oct 23, 2013, on the captioned subject.
The letter says that recently new construction has been carried out on Jahangir Khan Squash Complex Plot No ST – 5, Kashmir Road. In this regard, it is stated that according article 25-1-10.2 of Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations (KBTPR) 2002 no building could be constructed above podium level of the Mazar-i-Quaid, that is 91 feet above mean sea level (MSL), furthermore there is no exception in the law either for residential, commercial or amenity building.
It says that the structure on the said plot is almost 51 feet high whereas allowable height could not be more than 17 feet. This is clear violation of the above mentioned clause of KBTPR 2002, and clauses of Protection and Maintenance Ordinance of Mazar 1971.
The QMMB official in his letter says that it may be noted that honourable Sindh High Court vide CP No:D-953 of 2004 dated Dec 16, 2005, had decided that:
“Height restriction of a building above podium level of Quaid-i-Azam Mazar, that is 91 feet (27.72 metres) above mean sea level (MSL) within ¾ mile (1.2 kilometres) radius of Quaid-i-Azam Mazar, became enforceable from the date of notification of Karachi Building Town Planning Regulation (KBTPR 2002) with effect from April 4, 2002.
“Approval of building plan, if any after April 4, 2002, in violation of regulation 25-1-10.2 of KBTPR 2002 is illegal and cannot be compounded or regularized under the amnesty scheme as in force.
“KBCA are duty bound and shall take appropriate action forthwith, in accordance with law, for demolition of any constriction raised beyond permissible limit after April 4, 2002.
“In view of the above, you are requested to order the demolition of illegal construction of above podium level under intimation to this office,” adds Mr Arif in his letter to Mr Qadir.
Responding to Dawn queries that if such communication had ever led to some concrete action against illegal constrictions, Mr Arif said that so far owing to the efforts made by the QMMB over 30 illegal constructions, including the high rise buildings raised by the powerful and well connected members of the notorious builders’ mafia, had been razed and he was sure that in this case also the SBCA would demolish the illegally constructed Jahangir Khan Squash Complex that was higher than the podium of the Mazar.
To another question that if he was confident that his efforts against illegal construction carried out by a well connected national hero would bear any fruits, he said that first of all everybody was equal in the eyes of law, second while there was no doubt that Jahangir Khan was a national hero, but in this particular case, he had not acted like a hero but acted like any other common greedy builder. It was just a matter of time before the illegally constructed building was demolished, said the Mazar official confidently.
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2014