As Islamabad mayor cuts cake, Christians sit in wait

A majority of the Christian slum dwellers work for the CDA as sanitary staff


Shahzad Anwar December 25, 2016
Children play on a trampoline on Christmas. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: Christian citizens have played a pivotal role in the development of Islamabad and their services have been remarkable, acknowledged Islamabad Mayor and Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz.

He expressed these views on Sunday while addressing a ceremony at Lok Virsa in Shakarparian in connection with Christmas.

But just a few kilometres away, Christians of the capital celebrated the day as best they could, given that many of the areas where they are concentrated still lack basic facilities such as sanitation.

CDA sources said that the 15-odd recognised katchi abadis in the federal capital are host to some 100,000 residents, a disproportionate number of whom are Christian.

Almost all of these slums lack basic amenities, and some civic authority officials cannot event differentiate between the legal and illegal settlements.

In an ironic twist, a majority of the Christian slum dwellers work for the CDA as sanitary staff, yet, the city does not offer sanitation services in these regions.

“We work day and night to keep the city clean, but we are living our lives without basic sanitation services, clean drinking water, gas or electricity,” Yousaf Massih, an IMC sanitary worker, told The Express Tribune.

He said civic authorities have also stopped them from using tube wells, electricity and gas connections, where available, claiming that these were obtained illegally.

“I wish I had a house where we could live with peace of mind and without any fear of demolition,” a CDA sanitary worker told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2016.

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