[Re: HA-01-2006: PAKISTAN: City Government forces eviction leaving thousands homeless and without food in Karachi; UP-073-2006: PAKISTAN: Violence imminent over Lyari Expressway construction in Karachi]
UP-104-2006: PAKISTAN: Karachi Government has announced to make way for Lyari Expressway at all cost
PAKISTAN: Forced eviction; right to housing; right to life; abject poverty
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wrote to you on 25 January (Re: HA-01-2006) and 10 April 2006 (UP-073-2006) detailing the city district governments plans to make way for the Lyari Expressway Mega Project. Since the beginning of January an estimate of 11,000 houses and 3,100 commercial buildings have been destroyed, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless and deprived of basic necessities. According to the Governments latest plans, it is believed that a total of 25,000 houses will be demolished at the completion of the expressway.
The AHRC has learned that efforts for the construction of the Lyari Expressway recommenced on May 5 with more than 250 houses demolished in Sikander. The community has been of immense importance to its inhabitants, many of which were adamant not to leave the land of their ancestors. The Karachi district governments used police forces to disperse the protestors and during the conflict two people were killed. Sixteen-year-old Rafiq Ismail and an elderly Manzoor were killed by police fire, 51 people were injured and several were arrested. The super highway was blocked for several hours as a result of the violence. On May 6 when people of the community tried to return and salvage what once stood as their home, police and military officials of the Karachi government again responded with tear shells and baton charges to scatter the angry protestors. Soon after the reports of clashes between the police and protestors, reinforcements were called from 155 police stations to control the troubled area.
According to Urban Resource Centre, a civic body of Pakistan working on the housing rights for the people, over three thousand houses had been demolished in the latest campaign of the City Government. The government has not paid any compensation to those who have fallen victim to the project and has clearly contravened the laws of the Pakistan Constitution including the Land Acquisition Act 1997 (amended) and the decisions of the Sindh High Court in June 2003.
Dispute the violence, pressure has been mounting as political parties, civil social organisations and the media continue to campaign against the citys actions. It is said that the project has demolished many homes that do not even fall under the path of the expressway. This is being done simply to take control of prime land to facilitate the ruling janta and land mafia.
The Sindh Assembly in its latest session has criticised the demolition of old Goths (communities). Even the Chief Minister of Sindh Province announced in the Sindh Assembly on April 28 that there should be no demolition of houses. On May 6 the City District Government Council, the elected body in Karachi, condemned the demolitions of working class communities and Shanti Towns as an act of land grabbing.
The AHRC also condemns the demolitions in the name of cleaning the city drive announced by Mayor Nazim of the Karachi City Government during the so-called anti-encroachment operation. The government has denied thousands of their right to shelter and has ignored all violations of the UNs charter of human rights.
The Sindh Provincial Government and Karachi City District Government is continuing to demolish houses of working class people in the name of the clean the city drive to grab the land for commercial purposes. In January, the City Government encroachment team completed the demolition of Allah Wala colony, Jamshed town of Karachi where more than 400 houses were demolished.
On February 14, over 1000 huts were destroyed on the opposite side of the main gate of the Karachi University. On March 9, 150 houses were demolished on the instructions of Town Nazim and 300 houses in New Karachi also suffered the same fate. On March 10, in Korangi Town, another town of Karachi, the local administration bulldozed a further 200 houses. These were all acts in the pretext of road extension however no compensation has been guaranteed.
On March 13, in Gulshan-e-Iqbal town of Karachi, 1250 houses were also demolished in Jumma Goth. The eviction of the settlement was brutal and without any prior notice. Many of the families lost their household necessities. According to the Government the settlement was illegal and located on one of the main water supply pipelines. According to a survey of the Urban Resource Centre there were also many other high-rise buildings illegally constructed on the same water pipeline, however these were left untouched by the government.
The City Government has taken a hard line and has ignored violations of many domestic laws and provisions of the constitution. During the latest consultations assembly of the councilors it was announced that they will continue to demolish the village at any cost.
Please write to the relevant officials below highlight the urgency for the Karachi city government to reassess the value of the Lyari Expressway project. With thousands of lives at stake the Karachi city government must be held accountable to the welfare of the people who have been made homeless. The Lyari Expressway project must be suspended immediately until rehabilitation plans and programmes are in place to compensate the affected communities, as per the Sindh High Court decision of June 2003.
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PAKISTAN: Karachi Government has announced to make way for Lyari Expressway at all cost
I am writing to voice my deepest concern regarding the Lyari Expressway project in Karachi and the city district governments persistence in continuing to destroy homes in order to make way for the development. Owing the construction of the expressway approximately 11,000 houses and 3,100 commercial buildings have already been destroyed forcing thousands of people onto the streets. With the violence and callous that has been displayed in the execution of the demolition procedures, the city government is jeopardising the lives of over 300,000 at the cost of completing of the expressway. Urgent action is required to suspend further plans of demolition and call for compensation assessment for the affected communities.
On May 5 during the demolition efforts in Sikander, 16-year-old Rafiq Ismail and an elderly Manzoor were killed by police fire, 51 people were injured and several were arrested during the conflict. On May 6 when people of the community tried to return and salvage what once stood as their home, police and military officials of the Karachi government again responded with tear shells and baton charges to scatter the angry protestors. It is devastating to learn that the recommencement efforts have caused further violence, deaths and injuries. I would like to bring to your attention that this is only one of many incidents of police violence ensuing in the affected communities.
I am aware that the city district government has been repeatedly informed of these conditions. On 24 October 2003 the High Court of Sindh directed the National Highway Authority (NHA), Government of Sindh and the District Government of Karachi to review the design of the Lyari Expressway so as to minimise the number of people affected by this project. However, it has been learnt that thus far many homes have been demolished that do not even fall under the path of the expressway. This is being done simply to take control of prime land to facilitate the ruling janta and land mafia.
I fail to understand why the Government of Karachi is not deterred by the number of lives that are being destroyed. It is inexcusable for the city government to continue to destroy homes and livelihoods of thousands of people in the name of development without providing the necessary notice, compensation or alternative land to the victims. The situation is imminent and I call upon you to take personal responsibility to see that the Lyari Expressway project is suspended until appropriate actions have been taken to address the following issues. Firstly, the government must provide adequate housing, basic necessities and medical assistance as required by the immediate victims of the project. Secondly, the local administration must also ensure that compensation and rehabilitation efforts are made so that the victims may rebuild their homes and livelihood. Most importantly the Karachi Government must take responsibility and be accountable in deterring acts of violence against victims and protestors during the demolition operations. It must ensure that the project shall only proceed in the most peaceful and orderly manner.
I look forward to your urgent intervention in this matter,
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Syed Mustafa Kamal
City Mayor (Nazim)
Karachi City District Government
Fax: +92 21 923 2406
2. Mr. Ishrat-ul- Ibad Khan
Government of Sindh
Governor House Karachi
Tel: + 92 21 920 1201
Fax: +92 21 920 5043
3. Mr. Fawazi Yousef Al-Huanif
Director of Operations
Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development
4. Mr. Barakzai
National Highway Authority (Sindh)
Shah Rahe Faisal
Opposite Regent Plaza Hotel
Fax: +92 21 923 2348
PLEASE SEND COPIES:
1. General Pervez Musharraf
Fax: +92 51 922 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835
2. Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim
Chief Minister of Sindh
Chief Ministers House
Dr. Ziauddin Road, Karachi
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
3. Mrs. Saira Karim
Joint Secretary for Law, Justice and Human Rights
Tel: + 92 51 920 2819
Fax: + 92 51 920 3119
4. Mr. Miloon Kothari
UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing
Att: Ms. Cecilia Moller
UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211, Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9265
Fax: +41 22 917 9010
5. Mr. Farouk Tebbal
Chief Shelter Branch
One United Nations Plaza
21st Floor, Rom. 2160
New York, NY 10017
Fax: +1 212 906 6379
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)