Disruptive encroachments

It is a highly despicable act to try to halt humanitarian work through illegal means

Editorial October 27, 2017

It is heartening to learn that the provincial chief minister has shown zero tolerance for those threatening to disrupt the humanitarian services of the Edhi Foundation through their nefarious activities. By ordering immediate action against the land mafia operating in rural Sindh and a report from the Hyderabad commissioner, he has shown the kind of resolve that can help tackle the issue of land encroachment — a major headache for urban and rural officials alike. The case is far from over because the land mafia has a number of cohorts, including influential landlords, administration officials and policemen, on their payroll who are actively working to gobble up any piece of land they can lay their hands on.

It is a highly despicable act to try to halt humanitarian work through illegal means. According to Bilquis Edhi, the wife of deceased philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, welfare centres of the Edhi Foundation in many cities and towns in Sindh have been illegally occupied by influential figures who enjoy official patronage in the region.

On Oct 25th, Bilquis and her son Faisal Edhi claimed that their humanitarian organisation was facing threats from ‘anti-humanity elements’ in the province as many centres have been illegally encroached upon, affecting their work in the region. The Edhi Foundation has over 300 centres across Pakistan and has been tending to the suffering masses and benefiting local communities for the past three decades. These centres had been allotted to the foundation by the National Highway Authority, but now face demolition at the hands of land grabbers who are eyeing them for commercial activities. The Edhi centre in Hub in Balochistan too has been reportedly occupied by the land mafia. The closure of these centres will have a huge economic impact and deprive the people living there of humanitarian services.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2017.

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