The Supreme Court on Monday ordered authorities to complete the Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project in five months, telling them to start work immediately, as well as to expedite its approval and other related issues, Geo News reported.
During a hearing at its Karachi Registry, the top court ordered the Sindh government to provide complete support and facilities for work on the project and advised Secretary Railways to cooperate with the provincial leadership. It further told authorities they had a two-week deadline to ask China for help in the matter.
The Sindh government, however, responded by complaining of a lack of funds for the venture. "The work on the project will start when there in money," Advocate-General Sindh Salman Talibuddin told the court during today's proceedings.
"If you cannot make railways in your own country, what exactly can you do?" Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed remarked during the hearing. "We should perhaps summon the prime minister and the chief minister to ask who will work on the project."
On the other hand, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah remarked: "A government representative is working against the government today."
To which, the AG Sindh said the government would provide a definite answer on KCR's plan and finances after "meeting the Chinese ambassador".
"The Chinese are overseeing the project because it is affiliated with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)," Talibuddin informed the court.
"The world is so far ahead but we have not acquired adequate competence even in 72 years," the CJP stressed, adding that the KCR "should be established in six months".
CJP Ahmed lashed out further, saying: "You have continued to make it a joke despite our orders last year! All of you have jammed the networks yourselves. Don't expand Karachi. Set up new cities!"
To which, the AG said there was no new illegal construction going on at the moment.
"It's not that you're unaware; you've been saying the same since a year," the CJP retorted.
The Secretary Railways then mentioned that a land-grabbers' group "became active in the past, it's on the railways' lands now".
The top judge spoke of his visit to Karachi, noting that he saw "quite saddened" when he went to Nazimabad on Thursday. "I saw the conditions while on my way to the Sakhi Hasan Graveyard. I was very disheartened.
"I saw piles upon piles of garbage and broken roads. There was trash everywhere. I know what North Nazimabad used to be like. What is being done to the most beautiful area of the past?"
"Yes, we know and understand," Talibuddin responded.
"There's encroachment four kilometres from Kala Pul and people are staying there," the Secretary Railways chimed in.
To which, the CJP asked: "How are people there? Who will end the encroachment?"
"You should construct buildings and resettle people first and only then remove the encroachments," he said. "There should be no compromise on what's happening in Karachi."