Federal Govt. agrees to amend Ordinance pertaining to Karachi Islands

Advocate General of Pakistan on Friday told the Sindh High Court (SHC) that no development on the twin islands (Dingi and Bhadaar) in Karachi will take place till all constitutional and environmental issues are addressed.

The SHC Division Bench comprising of comprising Mr. Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar and Mr. Justice Arshad Hussain Khan was hearing three identical Constitution Petitions against the creation of the Pakistan Islands Development Authority, threats to the environment, marine ecology and livelihood of fishermen filed by senior lawyers Shahab Usto, advocate, Jibran Nasir, advocate and Basil Nabi  Malik, advocate (who represented Shehri NGO and its Chairman Dr. Kaiser Bengali).

During the hearing, advocate Jibran Nasir put forth an argument for environmental protection particularly mangroves, advocate Shahab Usto put forth an argument on the legal jurisdiction of the islands and advocate Basil mentioned the livelihoods of the Fisherfolk.

The AGP on behalf of the federal government gave an undertaking that the controversial ordinance for the establishment of the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) can be amended to address the concerns of Sindh. Mangroves and environmental issues will also be taken into consideration while developing these islands and all mangrove forests will be protected.

The next hearing of the case is fixed on November 13, 2020.

The petitioner Dr. Kaiser Bengali and others have prayed to the court to declare the Pakistan Islands Development Ordinance, 2020 as ultra vires the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 and hence, illegal and of no legal effect and suspend the Advertisement dated 0l. l0.2020 for appointment of the head of the Authority.

A petition filed by concerned citizens and represented by Jibran Nasir has requested the court to direct the Sindh government to furnish reasons as to why the Mangroves of Buddo and Bundal Islands which are the only forests in Indus Delta within the jurisdiction of the Government of Sindh have not been declared ‘Protected Forests’.

The court has been urged by Shahab Usto to direct the Sindh government to protect the fundamental human rights of the communities living on the islands, including their possessory and proprietary rights as provided by the law and Constitution.

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