Bahria Town will not taken over Karachi park until all stakeholders approve: Malik Riaz

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Spread over 130 acres, Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim was redeveloped in a record time of 10 months after removing encroachments from 70 acres of its land in February 2007.— Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

Malik Riaz, the owner of real estate giant Bahria Town, said Friday that his company will not take over Karachi’s iconic park — Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim — until all stakeholders, including mayor Waseem Akhtar agree to hand it over to them.

Riaz’s statement is a response to Friday’s news report saying the Sindh government had decided to hand over the park to Bahria Town for 10 years in a move which the provincial authorities claimed would save funds and encourage private organisations to carry out social work and public service.

The property tycoon said in a Twitter post that it was “really unfortunate” how some people had reacted to the news.

“I… want to clarify that we are not buying this park. We are not getting any penny from any government institution nor do we plan to,” he said.

Riaz said Bahria Town has no commercial interest in the venture and will invest in the beautification and maintenance of the park.

“We will not takeover this park till all stakeholders agree to hand it over to us, rest assured.”

A notification issued by the Sindh local government ministry Thursday stated that the decision to hand over the park “for adoption” had been taken after its approval by a competent authority, but made it clear that salary of its staff would be paid by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).

For this ‘handover’, the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government first took over the control of the park from the city’s municipal administration mainly dominated by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan.

“In pursuance of notification of even number dated 21-11-2016 and with the approval of competent authority, Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim Park along with aquarium situated in Clifton has been taken over by the local government department from KMC and handed over to M/S Bahria Town Private Limited for adoption as per agreement executed on 30-03-2017,” said the notification.

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