ISLAMABAD: A Capital Development Authority (CDA) enforcement team on Tuesday razed an old slum in Sector I-10, despite a Supreme Court order restraining the CDA from demolishing slums that were populated before August 2015.
Residents of the settlement told The Express Tribune that at around 10am, over a dozen vehicles of CDA staff and a bulldozer, along with 20 to 25 policemen, barged into the mud houses at a time when most of the male residents were at their workplaces.
The CDA enforcement team destroyed their meagre possessions, while women, children and elderly residents were kicked out by CDA staff. Most of the residents of the area are from Kohistan and Southern Punjab. Most men living here work in Sabzi Mandi, while most of the women work as housemaids in nearby sectors.
Azizur Rehman, 70, told The Express Tribune that he had been living there for last 40 years and works odd jobs to make ends meet.
Ahmed Ali Shah, another resident of the slum, said he was born here more than 35 year back and had lived here his whole life. He had been elected as general councillor in local government (LG) election on a Pakistan Muslim League (N) ticket in November last year. He said that he showed the CDA staff copies of the Supreme Court orders, but they claimed that the SC orders did not apply to this area. When he told them that he was one of petitioners, the CDA staff ignored him and continued their demolition operation.
Shah claimed that the CDA had recently allotted two plots to a man named Mumtaz, explaining that local residents know him as ‘Master’.
Slum residents vacated the space for him to build on, and claimed that he later told them to vacate more land beyond the plot areas so he could develop it into a lawn. Shah said that when they refused — the land was not part of the plots — Mumtaz influenced the CDA to demolish the entire slum. He said they have no other place to go as many had been living there for generations.
“The CDA has blatantly violated SC’s orders granting stay against demolition of katchi abadis,” Usama Khawar Ghuman, a representative for katchi abadis, told The Express Tribune. Ghuman said they would file a contempt petition in the SC.
The CDA public relations wing did not respond to multiple telephonic requests for comment.
The Katchi Abadi Alliance later held a protest outside the National Press Club against the demolition of the slum.
The stay order
The stay order on razing of slums came after the July 2015 razing of an illegal slum in Sector I-11. That slum was the largest illegal settlement in the city. The SC had restrained the CDA from razing any slums that were populated before the date the order was issued, while allowing it to raze any new illegal settlements. The slum in I-10 is decades old.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2016.