Fate of Karachi’s Sea Breeze’s building hangs in the balance

Fate of Karachi’s Sea Breeze’s building hangs in the balance

The Supreme Court has given authorities two months for the inspection of Karachi’s Sea Breeze building on MA Jinnah Road. The court had initially ordered the demolition of the building but granted a stay till the completion of the building’s inspection. 

A three-member bench, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, resumed hearing the case on Friday at the Karachi Registry.

The Sindh Building Control Authority’s technical committee for dangerous buildings, Nespak, the Pakistan Engineering Council, and the Karachi Cantonment Board have been ordered to work together and help with the examination process.

The SBCA submitted a list of experts, including its employees and private individuals who have been licenced by the building authority, to the court. From these, Nespak and the PEC will decide on one expert to assess the structural design of the building. A joint investigation should be conducted with the use of the latest equipment, the court ordered.

All parties have been told to cooperate and conduct an examination of the building to ascertain whether or not it is dangerous and if its structure is sustainable. The court said the building should not post any threat to the life and property of the occupants, as well as the people nearby.

Nespak has already been tasked with the building inspection. “Let Nespak do its job. It can examine the building any way it wants,” said Justice Ahmed.

The court has told the authorities to remove and drain stagnant water inside the building too.

On November 23, the top court had ordered the demolition of the building. The Karachi Cantonment Board had even issued eviction notices to the shop owners and asked them to vacate it by May 27. According to the Karachi Cantonment Board spokesperson, the shops occupy just 10% of the building while the rest of it is empty.

At the last hearing, Iftikhar Hussain Gilani, who is the lawyer of the petitioner, said that no report says that the building has been ruined. Nespak has reviewed it and we should wait for its report, he told the court. There are shops and warehouses inside the building and its demolition will affect 200 people, Gilani added.