The owners and tenants of shops near MA Jinnah Road kept pleading, but the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) that claimed the structures were illegally built bulldozed their shops— over 80 — down on Tuesday.
As soon as the drive started, shop owners started protesting the move, saying they have been working there since the past 10 to 15 years. But a heavy contingent of the police was present at the site that stopped the protesters from resisting.
“We had gathered money to build the shops by selling jewellery,” said one of the protesters. “We also have the documents [issued] by KMC.”
The protesting shopkeepers held placards that stated they were not encroachment mafia.
“It has been around 40 years since we have been sitting in these shops, but not illegally,” said another protester. “We have letters from KMC and also pay the rent.”
According to officials of the anti-encroachment cell, the shops were constructed on the land owned by KMC. Therefore, they added, the KMC authorities were carrying out the drive against illegal construction on their land over court orders.