KARACHI: Police said on Wednesday that five people were arrested for trying to stop the demolition of seven homes in Sultanabad, close to where the US Consulate is.
The Karachi Bachao Tehreek was a group of political and civil society groups that were protesting the destruction of homes near three significant drains in the city.
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It said that working-class people in Sultanabad near the US Consulate had been arrested for “peacefully protesting” against the destruction of their homes.
KBT convener Khurram Nayar told Dawn that on Monday night, Mukhtiar Abro, the deputy commissioner of Keamari, told the people who lived there to leave their homes because they would be torn down because of “security concerns” for the foreign mission.
Five protesters are arrested by the police, and the District of Columbia says that “high-rise” buildings are being built illegally on small plots of land.
Mr. Nayar said that the residents had already gotten a stay order from the Sindh High Court a week before.
Even so, the area’s deputy commissioner started tearing down seven homes on Tuesday.
He said that some locals tried to film the demolition, but when the police came, they ran back to their homes. However, the police caught and held five of them in the evening.
At first, they were taken to the police station in Jackson, where the activists were waiting. They were then taken to the Docks police station, where they were charged with “attempted murder, riots, and an encounter with the police.”
The head of the KBT also said that the people in police custody were brought before a concerned court, which put them back in police custody for two more days.
Mr Khurram said the government was destroying the residential buildings because the UC consulate general was “thought to be in danger.”
He said that the residents had built the buildings and that the relevant authorities had approved the layout plans. He also said that two officials from the consulate had visited and “approved” building work a few years ago.
DC-Keamari Abro, on the other hand, told Dawn that seven high-rise buildings had been built on small plots of land, which was “illegal.”
“These buildings were dangerous to people’s lives, so they’re being torn down,” the DC said, adding that the SHC had not issued a stay order.
“We won’t kick the people out, but the top floors of their houses will be torn down,” the DC said.
Fida Husain Janwari, the SSP of Keamari, said that five people had been arrested because they had fought against the “anti-encroachment drive.” He said that they had been booked.
The officer also said that the police were there to protect the workers from the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), the anti-encroachment department, and the revenue department.
DC Keamari told the SSP that these seven buildings were “illegal,” so they were being torn down.
He also said that the DC had told the police that the stay order was no longer in effect. So, he said, the drive to stop encroachment began on Tuesday and went on until Wednesday.
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