KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday dismissed a stay order petition by residents of Martin Quarters among other government housing areas and ordered the government to continue the process of vacating the houses.
Government employees including women and children protested outside the Supreme Court Karachi Registry against the verdict as state officers were ordered to wrap up the matter of clearing illegal occupants of Pakistan Quarters and Pakistan Secretariat within 10 days. The court further ordered state officers to make their decisions after hearing the individual petitions by the residents and said that the applications of all residents of government quarters should be reviewed.
Retired employees and other illegal occupants have been ordered to vacate the quarters and the secretary-general administration has been directed to hear the petitions of individual residents.
“We have been living here for 20 years,” said a retired employee. Justice Musheer Alam stated that possession will not turn legal even if someone was living in the houses for 100 years. The court went on to say that no one is entitled to government housing except present service staff.
A report submitted by the deputy attorney general stated that 4,168 government quarters have been occupied illegally, 639 houses in Martin quarters, 301 in Patel and 49 houses in Garden and Pakistan Quarters, while illegally occupied residences in Bath Islands have been vacated. The report read that advertisements have been published and final notices have also been issued to the residents.
The federal government had declared families living in several federal housing colonies illegal occupants. The colonies include Pakistan Quarters, FC Area, Martin Quarters, Clayton Quarters and others. Many households living in these localities have been there for decades and they also claim to be legal owners of their houses.
Residents of Pakistan Quarters claim that the residences were not the property of the federal government and the housing units were constructed on evacuated property.
According to the residents, the federal government has not spent a single penny since 1980 for the maintenance of the quarters and they have themselves maintained the houses.
The department's staff had come to evict Pakistan Quarters' residents
NAB Lahore has been investigating the SLIC Cooperative Housing Society corruption case
Area falls within the NA-241 constituency