Judge Orders Immediate Halt To Granite Mining Activities In Karoonjhar Range

Judge Orders Immediate Halt To Granite Mining Activities In Karoonjhar Range
Mr Karam Ali Shah, the Judicial Magistrate and Civil Judge at Nagarparkar has reaffirmed his conditional judgement in the Karoonjhar granite cutting case and issued an absolute order directing the Kohinoor Marble Industries Karachi and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) to stop cutting of granite stones from Karoonjhar hills. These mining companies are required to remove their machinery forthwith.

During the second consecutive day this Friday, the court heard Barkat Ali Maitlo, the lawyer of Kohinoor Marble Industries Karachi and Frontier Works Organisation.

The magistrate, after hearing the case, reaffirmed his earlier order of 28 December 2021, completely banning the extraction of granite from any point of the Parkar region.

The court order said that the respondents number 1 and 2, i.e. Kohinoor Marble Industries Karachi and FWO, besides filing objections on a question of law, did not avail the opportunity of jury and evidence voluntarily, which was insufficient and that could not satisfy the court to recall its conditional order.

In the magistrate’s words, the two respondents “claim publicly that you are legally entitled for cutting and lifting the stone from the Karoonjhar Range, but you both do not disclose the lease agreement, survey reports, boundaries or any other document including terms and conditions. Besides, you do not bother to reveal the NOCs taken from the Environmental Protection Agency, wildlife department, Forest Department, Culture and Tourism Department and Defence Ministry of Pakistan – all of which are mandatory prerequisites before starting the work if one is legally allowed.”

The judicial order said that the illegal practice was being carried out for the past many years with short intervals without following the standard operating procedures promulgated by the constitution of Pakistan under both provincial and federal governments’ codification.

"From the above discussion, it is observed that Karoonjhar has been dealt with by all you respondents as ordinary mountain which is rich with granite stone only, and it ought to be utilised only in one dimension – the dimension of construction.”
He added that the respondents failed to take into account the “destruction of the whole society and ecosystem.”

In the view of the magistrate,
“The reality is totally different as it is not just a mountain but a collective source of satisfied, certain and secure life. This mountain range is at the same time tourism, culture, heritage, religious site, irrigation, agriculture, defence, livelihood, the preservation of wildlife, forest with full greenery and much more.”

The order further said that now court has reached a conclusion that cutting of the mountain range Karoonjhar is a pure act of public nuisance, and this too, on a large scale, because it affects the only sources of life for 200,000 people of Nagarparkar,

In the order, SHO Police Nagarparkar, SHO Dano Dhand and SSP Tharparkar are strictly directed to make visible compliance of this order and submit the “same report before this court in the first week of every month in future.” Failure to do this would, according to the order, make accomplices of them all.

The writer can be reached at hanifsamoon@gmail.com