Seven-year-old dies in anti-encroachment operation

Residents say they were told to vacate their houses by April 15 but officials arrived on Friday


Our Correspondent April 13, 2019
PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: Residents of the katchi abadi near Super Highway protested the death of a child during an anti-encroachment operation near the Super Highway on Friday.

The residents said that a notice was issued to them with regards to the demolition of their houses. According to the seven-year-old victim's father, the residents had been notified to vacate their houses by April 15.

However, officials reached the area unannounced on Friday and began razing the houses. A wall fell over seven-year-old Muhammad Jan, resulting in his death. The residents claim that Friday's anti-encroachment operation was unexpected.

They placed the child's body on the road near Al-Asif Square, shouted slogans and blocked the Super Highway. Enraged by the child's death, the demonstrators set a motorcycle and tyres on fire. The anti-encroachment staff left the area when the locals began their protest.

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The traffic was disrupted and long queues of vehicles were seen on the road. Some protesters also threw stones at the vehicles stuck in the traffic jam. The windscreens and windows of two to three cars were broken.

After two hours of negotiations with the police, the protesters dispersed peacefully. The police removed the debris from Super Highway and cleared the road for traffic.

The father of the deceased told The Express Tribune that he was a labourer. The aggrieved man said that his wife and other children were also injured in the anti-encroachment operation. They have been shifted to the hospital, he said, adding that his family had been living in the area for years and the government should provide them justice.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2019.

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