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KARACHI: Over a thousand shops have been razed so far during an ongoing operation against encroachments in the metropolis’ Saddar area.
During the operation, shops located in the bird market, cloth market and dried fruit market were removed using heavy machinery.
According to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Anti-Encroachment Senior Director Bashir Ahmed Siddiqui, “Empress Market would be restored to its original state in the next 15 days.”
“1043 illegal shops were demolished during the operation today,” Siddiqui said on Sunday, adding, “After the drive, KMC and the police will set up camps in Saddar to ensure that the encroachments do not return.”
Siddiqui added, “A task force has been created to stop the encroachments in Saddar which will comprise KMC, anti-encroachment and police members.”
‘Will restore Karachi to its natural, historic beauty’
Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar while speaking to media outside Empress Market on Sunday, said that KMC will restore Karachi to its natural and historical beauty.
Speaking about the land given by KMC to markets around Empress Market, the mayor said the 30-year-old contract between KMC and the markets had been terminated.
“In the old plans for Empress Market there were parks all around the market, however, markets were set up on that land,” Akhtar said. “We will build parks on that land and will restore Empress Market to its original state.”
Akhtar continued, “KMC gave this land 30 years ago and we have terminated the contracts. A list of those who have been affected by the operation will be made and they will be provided with an alternative place.”
“Prime Minister Imran Khan told me in Islamabad that illegal encroachments should be removed. We are working on the Supreme Court and PM’s directive,” he added.
Akhtar admitted that KMC had made mistakes in the past, but they were determined to restore the city to its original beauty, by “removing all [illegal] encroachments.”
Thanking all those involved in the anti-encroachment drive, Akhtar said that the encroachments on the footpaths are being removed as well.
“We will not let anyone occupy any footpaths,” he asserted.
“We do not want to affect anyone’s business and we will not repeat the mistakes of the past.”