Malik Riaz clarifies Bahria Town’s stake in Bagh Ibne Qasim in Karachi


KARACHI:


A day after the Sindh government handed over Karachi’s iconic seaside park Bagh Ibne Qasim to real estate giant Bahria Town for adoption, Bahria Town CEO Malik Riaz clarified that his company would not take over the park only when all stakeholders including the mayor of Karachi were on board.

According to a notification released Thursday, the local government department has taken over the iconic park from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and handed it over to the property development company.

“Existing staff deployed to the park and aquarium will continue to serve at the same location and the salaries of such staff will be paid by KMC,” the notification said.

The mayor of Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, in a conversation with a private news channel, said he was not consulted before the handover.

Real estate market fluctuations observed in 2016

In the interest of transparency, Riaz also tweeted the agreement signed between the government and the city of Bahria.

He further clarified that the city of Bahria would not buy the park and that the funds used for the beautification and maintenance of the park would come only from the city of Bahria itself.

“We have no commercial interest (…) it is really disappointing that positive intentions are opposed,” he added.

Developed under the supervision of then-Nazi Mustafa Kamal and inaugurated by former military leader Pervez Musharraf in 2007, the park, which spans 130 acres, has received huge publicity throughout the world. ‘era.

However, despite the 600 million rupees spent on it, the park has been neglected for quite a long time. There are no gardeners, sweepers or guards to take care of it.

“Will approach court on Monday”

Reacting to Bagh Ibne Qasim’s handover, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar said the city government would not let the deal go ahead, calling it an “injustice” to the people of Karachi.

“How can the Sindh government sign this agreement without involving the mayor in the process,” Akhtar told reporters visibly angry on Friday. “I will approach the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday against this unfair decision,” he added.

The mayor also objected to the content of the agreement, saying assurances not to use the land for commercial activities were not sufficient. “There is a confidence deficit in this matter because previously the land was used for commercial activities once it was acquired.”

Akhtar said there were clear guidelines from the Supreme Court stating that no commercial activity could take place [at parks]. The mayor clarified that he is not opposed to the beautification of Karachi and has reservations only on the methodology used.

He further added that the park will be maintained by employees of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), for which permission should have been taken in advance.

“The government of Sindh is failing miserably in the development of this city and we can help them improve.” Akhtar said. “We are also aware of your ulterior motives behind this decision and will reveal them when the time is right,” he said in a thinly veiled taunt to Bahria Town CEO Malik Riaz.

“This city is home to 30 million people and we will not let anyone trade their property,” said the mayor.

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