KARACHI: An investigation into the landslide which caused 13 casualties, including seven children and three women, in Karachi’s Gulistan-e-Jauhar area on Tuesday, revealed that the calamity may have been a result of ‘China-cutting’ (illegal expansion and encroachment of land). The plot on which the landslide occurred was in the custody of DSP Javed Abbas, who has been named as the accomplice of ‘Chunnu Mamoon’, also known as the king of China-cutting.
This was revealed before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) by Faisal Masroor, an accused allegedly involved in China-cutting and acts of terrorism, according to the JIT report. Most land plots in the hilly area of Block 1 of Gulistan-e-Jauhar where the disaster occurred, measure 400 sq yards. The possible reason for the incident could be the attempt to increase the plots size to 800 sq yards.
The process involved digging into the hill at its base, leading to its collapse, and a consequent landslide. Geologist, University of Karachi, Shamim Sheikh said the incident took place as a result of the digging into the hill at its base.
The plot where the incident occurred actually belongs to Ayaz Soomro, who is presently a member of Sindh Assembly and a leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Ayaz, son of Khuda Bakhsh Soomro, had received the plot number 64/13 in 1995. The then Sindh chief minister had allotted 11 plots from his discretionary quota and Ayaz had become one of the allottees.
The plot had originally been allotted for the purpose of a park but was eventually converted into a parking lot for personal purposes, while a gate was put and locked for outsiders. Following the developments, Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Siddiqui has announced a ban on any further construction plans in hilly areas of the city.