Double Standards: Do Supreme Court orders apply only to the poor?

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan yesterday issued show-cause notices to two upscale private hospitals located in Clifton, Karachi. These notices were issued to Dr Ziauddin Hospital, Clifton and South City Hospital because these private hospitals that bill billions in revenue are built on amenity plots.

An anti-encroachment drive ordered by the Supreme Court is underway in various parts of the city – only affecting the poor and lower-middle-class. Enraged at the operation, many shop owners and their employees staged a protest against the demolition of the shops. They blocked the main gate of the amusement park. They protested the demolition of their shops which were “leased” to them by the KMC and are legal.

The amenity plots are meant for establishing public hospitals, schools, parks, playgrounds, library and other reasons for which they are allotted.

In the show-cause notices, the Supreme Court asked the administration why action is not being taken against them.

The apex court inquired the Karachi Development Authority director-general about how these private hospitals being established over amenity plots. The SC asked for a detailed report regarding KDA amenity plots by the director-general in the next hearing.

The Dr Ziauddin Hospital, Clifton, was established in 1999 over an amenity plot of KDA. It is a 180-bedded hospital with the capacity of 700patients admitted in a month.

In 2018, the Sindh High Court summoned the case over the legitimate status of Dr Ziauddin Hospital.

The owner of Dr Ziauddin Hospital is a PPP senior leader Dr Asim Hussain, who is a close aide of former President Asif Zardari.

Dr Asim Hussain was served as Federal Minister for Petroleum in the PPP past government. He is currently serving as Chairman Sindh Higher Education Commission with second consecutive tenure from 2011 till date.

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation has already taken action as per the apex court orders regarding the demolition operation of underprivileged houses at Gujjar Nallah, Orangi Nallah and Manzoor Colony Nullah.

They are also taking the initiative over SC orders for demolishing shopping centres, restaurants and Pavilion End—a recreational club constructed on amenity land of Aladin Park.

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