Karachi: In a significant development, the Sindh High Court (SHC) has upheld its previous stance on the contentious conversion of 43 acres of land, originally earmarked for public amenities by the Defense Housing Authority (DHA) in Karachi, into a site for residential high-rises. This decision comes amidst a prolonged legal tussle involving local residents, the DHA, and several private entities.
The land in question, situated in DHA Phase VIII, Karachi, was initially reserved for the development of public facilities such as a park, school, sewage treatment plant, and graveyard. However, the DHA’s decision to reallocate this land for the construction of the Creek Terraces and Creek View (now known as Arkadians) residential projects has been met with staunch opposition and legal challenges.
The controversy dates back to 2013 when DHA resident Zahidullah Khan filed a lawsuit against the DHA, Creek Developers, BF Property and Construction, and AKD Hospitality, challenging the conversion of the amenity plots. Despite the dismissal of an injunction application by the SHC earlier, Khan persisted with an appeal, urging the court to halt all construction, sales, and promotional activities related to the disputed projects.
The division bench of the SHC has reinforced an earlier order, maintaining the prohibition on the creation of any third-party interests and barring any occupation of the property until the next hearing. The court has also issued a public warning against engaging in any transactions involving the Creek Terraces and Creek View developments.
In a dramatic turn of events in October 2013, the SHC reserved its final judgment on the land’s intended use but permitted the private builders to continue construction at their “own risk and cost.” This provisional permission was granted by a single bench led by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, modifying a prior order that explicitly directed a halt to construction activities.
The petitioner’s counsel, Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed, has consistently argued that the original master plan designates the land for amenities and should not be repurposed for residential or commercial use. Conversely, DHA’s lawyer, Abid S. Zuberi, contends that the land was never meant for amenities and is part of the larger Creek City project.
Creek Developers, having initiated the project in 2003 and begun construction in 2009, has sought the court’s permission to continue building, assuring that no third-party interests would be created until the case’s resolution.
In light of the ongoing legal proceedings and the SHC’s interim order, MCA Law Associates, representing Mr. Zahidullah Khan, has issued a public notice. The notice declares that any sale, lease, or transaction creating third-party interest in any part of the Creek Terraces and Creek View (Arkadians) or any attempts to occupy the same would be illegal and could be considered contempt of court.
The legal battle underscores the complexities of urban development and the protection of public interest in the face of private real estate ventures. The final decision by the SHC is eagerly awaited by all parties involved and is expected to set a precedent for future land use disputes in the region.