Our friend Aasim Akhtar from federal capital Islamabad informed us that the authorities are planning a massive bulldozing operation in Islamabad.
I am forwarding this message with a sample appeal. I will appreciate if you will send appeal to the authorities in Islamabad to stop these evictions.
As per our meeting on Sunday the 5th, I am sending you some brief details of the actions taken by government agencies against katchi abadi dwellers in recent times.
The operation began in February/March 1999 when a katchi abadi of over 600 households was demolished. This abadi was named Sumbul Kuruk and stood near Rawal Dam. In this abadi resided \”mutasreen\” who had never been properly compensated by the CDA after they had acquired the land in teh 1960s. There were also later migrants who were illegal settlers but had lived there for up to 35 years with the implicit consent of the CDA. These people are now spread out all over the city, most of them renting rooms on a temporary basis.
In October, Saidpur village, another katcha settlement, located on the foot of the Margalla Hills was targeted. Once again, most of the peopel in this abadi were \”mutasreen\” never compensated as originally promised by the CDA. This operation ahs continued at regular intervals and while some of the residents are still there, they are in constant fear of eviction.
In H-10 sector, small scattered abadis were demolished this past February, with a total of 70 houses or so targeted. Similarly in F-11 sector near Golra Sharif, small scattered abadis have been systematically targeted and demolished.
These settlements all fall outside what the CDA terms the 11 surveyed and accepted katchi abadis within Islamabad. Other surveys have shown soemthing in the range of at least 16 katchi abadis in the capital. Therefore, the CDA claims taht they are leaving the katchi abadis alone while demolishing only fresh encroachments. These evictions tehrefore are justified on the basis of a definition. Currently ongoing evictions are in sector I-11 near the Railway tracks. These are evictions in which the CDA is involved alongwith Pakistan Railways. Another important issue is that the CDA claims that the large proportion of Afghans living in katchi abadis can simply be provided no guarantee of security because they pose a security threat and they are tied to any orders from the Interior Ministry that suggests that Afghan localities should be targeted. Indeed, Afghan majority abadis have been targeted as well in recent times across the twin cities, as they have been claimed to be safe havens for crime. In Rawalpindi, Loco Shed colony, has also been targeted by Pakistan Railways. We are currently in the process of determining what RMC’s policy is towards katchi abadis in Pindi.
This is the current state of affairs. Will keep you updated. Please let me know if you wnat more information and if you have any suggestions. Currently we are aiming to collect comprehensive information on all these abadis.
Thanks in advance.
Best wishes,Aasim Akhtar
Sample of the appeal
General Perviz Mushraf
Islamic Republic of Pakistan,
Prime Minister House
Fax: 00 92 051 920 1893/1835
or Fax: 00 92 051 920 4632
Subject: Forced Evictions in Islamabad/Rawalpindi
We are deeply concerned to learn that the Capital Development Authority CDA and Pakistan Railways have launched a massive eviction drive in the Katchi Abadis of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. According to our reports, many settlements being targeted are more than 35 years old and provide shelter to the working classes, many of whom are employees of various government department in the capital. While appreciating the government’s serious efforts to change the face of the city of Islamabad to build it as a financial and commercial centre in a globalising economy, we wish to bring to your kind attention the globally recognised concept of the
right to adequate housing.
Under the International Convention on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights, that was signed by our government in 1979, housing rights are guaranteed to everyone. In this connection, United Nations Bodies, through a series of resolutions, have made it clear that forced evictions are a gross violation of human rights – in particular housing rights. You may also be aware that Government officials and NGO activists from Pakistan were represented at the United Nations Habitat II Conference in Istanbul 1996 and through unanimous adoption of the Habitat Agenda, the world community including our government committed to \”integrate land and shelter policies with policies for reducing poverty and
creating jobs….. and for empowering those belonging to disadvantaged groups particularly people without shelter\”
We would like to draw your kind notice towards illegal and forced evictions which are continuously taking place in the twin cities. The reported figures show that more than 600 houses were bulldozed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in February and March 1999 (Sumbul Kuruk near Rawal Dam) causing an estimated loss of Rs 90 million to the urban poor. In these settlements no compensation was paid to the victims, and the authorities many times did not serve prior notices. We believe actions such as this entirely contradict your recently announced \”Poverty Alleviation Programme\”.
In Islamabad an estimated population of 50 to 70 thousand people is living in 16 different Katchi Abadis (informal settlements). Unfortunately our/your national government and the agencies involved are unable to ensure adequate shelter to the urban poor. This operation has continued at regular intervals and some of the residents live in constant fear of eviction. In H-10 sector, small scattered abadis were demolished this last February, totaling about 70 houses. Similarly in F-11 sector near Golra Sharif, small scattered abadis have also been demolished. Pakistan Railways has targeted Loco Shed Colony in Rawalpindi, and the I-11 sector in Islamabad.
As an organisation connected with the housing rights situations in Pakistan/Asia, we would like to urge you to initiate genuine consultation with the effected families of the twin cities.
Even more shocking is that these bulldozing operations that will make people shelter-less are taking place just before 23rd March, which is Pakistan day ( the day when every Pakistani was promised his\\her own land and shelter).
We urge you to instruct the local authorities to STOP THE FORCED EVICTIONS AND INITIATE A DIALOGUE WITH THE PEOPLE LIKELY TO BE RENDERED HOMELESS and provide necessary assistance to those concerned, in conformity with the international human rights standards.
Your consideration would be much appreciated.
With best regards
1. Omer Asghar Khan Federal Minister for Local Bodies and Rural development Fax: 922 4890
2. Chairman Capital Development Authority Fax: 920 7075
3. Chairman Pakistan Railways Fax: 920 8846
4. Aasim Akhtar local Acitviist Fax: 822 794
Urban Resource Centre
3/48 Mualomabad Khalid Bin Walid Road
Karachi 74800 Pakistan
Tel /Fax 92 21 4559275