Karachi: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday appointed SHC Nazir as commissioner for onsite inspection of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim to ascertain whether Bahria Town had laid sewerage line of one of its projects in the park. The court heard the petitions filed by Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar, Imran Ismail and others challenging the handing over of the city’s iconic public park to the private real estate firm for 10 years.The court extended its interim order suspending the notification of handing over the facility to Bahria Town. During the course of hearing, a counsel of the property developer told the court that Bahria Town was not interested to take over the park anymore. The court ordered inquiry into the reported laying down of sewerage line in the park by Bahria Town. The court appointed SHC’s Nazir as commissioner and directed him to carry out on site inspection of the facility along with architecture. The court further directed that the inquiry report should be submitted in the court within 30 days.The petitioners counsel argued that the local government secretary had signed an agreement dated March 30th with Bahria Town, handing over the public park to it for a period of 10 years. They argued that the agreement in question was a violation of the Article 140-A of the Constitution. Mayor Karachi had submitted that Sindh government cannot hand over the park to Bahria Town.that it is the responsibility of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to transfer the functions of controlling the land owned by it, according to Part-I of Schedule-II of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013. Further referring to Part-II in Schedule-II of the Act (Item No 52), he contended that insofar as the parks and gardens were concerned, such powers are exclusively vested in the metropolitan corporation to maintain and create any recreation for the convenience of the general public.According to the mayor, the agreement was a ‘commercial’ arrangement, whereby they have settled certain terms and conditions. Though the management of the park is being handed over to the private builder, the government will still be allocating budgets while paying the salaries of staff. He had also referred to a judgment passed by the Supreme Court in a case relating to a portion of Bagh Ibne Qasim, wherein commercial activity was initiated and the apex court had concluded that ‘no commercial activity could be carried [out] on an amenity plot’.The court has adjourned further hearing of the case till October 3rd , 2017. Published in Daily Times, August 24th 2017.