Residents of katchi abadis held a demonstration at Phatak Colony on Saturday to protest against the government’s planned eviction campaign against them.
According to a press release, the demonstration was organised by the Awami Workers Party (AWP) and All Pakistan Alliance for Katchiabadis (APAK) and attended by a large number of residents from Muslim Colony, I-11/1 basti, Esa Nagri in I-9, and France Colony in F-7/4. AWP and National Student Federation members also took part in the demonstration.
The party has been fighting for the rights of the twin cities’ slum dwellers for the past two decades and the alliance was very active during the previous PML-N-led government and early years of Musharraf’s tenure.
The efforts by the alliance, activists and residents have forced the government to register several abadis giving them the option of relocation or on-site development and provision of basic amenities but the policy are yet to be implemented.
Key government officials have announced the intention of clean up the capital city on the pretext that the abadis protect criminal elements.
Faced with the threat, AWP and APAK are strengthening the links between katchiabadis of the twin cities through corner meetings, demonstration and other activities.
“It’s time for the residents of all the abadis to come together and oppose the anti poor policies of this government, said Sheikh Abdul Rahman of I-9 basti.
AWP Punjab General Secretary Aasim Sajjad Akhtar pointed out that the demonstration was being held two days after the by elections, which signified both the lack of interest by mainstream politicians and a failure on part of the slum dwellers who keep voting for them.
“This is a battle between the haves and have-nots. They won’t give us anything. We must take matters in to our own hands,” Akhtar said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2013.