The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) on Thursday took over the 38-acre Askari Park, more than a month after directions of the Supreme Court to military authorities to hand over the possession of the park to the civic agency.
The top court had on Dec 27, 2021, directed the military-run administration to hand over the park to the KMC in two weeks.
Talking to Dawn.com, KMC administrator’s spokesperson Sikander Baloch said possession of the park was formally taken during a meeting of KMC Director General Parks Junaid Khan and Senior Director Estate Imtiaz Ali Abro with military officials at the park.
The park was built on land vacated after the shifting of the city’s popular “Old Sabzi Mandi” to Superhighway (now Motorway-9) during the era of former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
During the hearing of the case in December, a Corps V representative had told the court that the park was given to military authorities on a 99-year lease.
In response, the then chief justice, Gulzar Ahmed, had remarked that the land was handed over to military authorities to develop it as a park, but it was being used for commercial purposes.
The court had also asked the civic agency to shut all commercial activities on the park, remove structures and open it to the public.
Previously, an applicant had submitted a petition to the court, contending that the land of the park belonged to the KMC and an agreement for the adoption of such land was made between the then city district government and the military authorities in 2005 for development and maintenance of the park.
However, the applicant said wedding halls and other commercial activities were being carried out on the premises of the park.