Migrating out: Lyari forces its Christians residents to move out

Published: November 10, 2013
Members of other minority communities, apart from Christians, have also moved out of Lyari. PHOTO: FILE

Members of other minority communities, apart from Christians, have also moved out of Lyari. PHOTO: FILE


The unabated violence in the city’s volatile Lyari neighbourhood has forced its entire Christian community to move to safer areas The Express Tribune has learnt.

Threats, killings, interferences in personal matters, drugs, extortion and rape of young girls were some of the reasons that compelled the out-migration from one of the oldest parts of Lyari, called Slaughter House.

Around 600 houses in Slaughter House, which comprises 22 buildings, was established in 1916 for the sanitary workers of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). It now stands deserted as its occupants were forced out by a group of gangsters, who were forcing them to join their ranks against its rival group or leave the compound forever. The residents, who were mostly employees of the KMC, were paying a monthly rent of Rs450 to the department.

These last occupants of Slaughter House were the fourth generation of the earliest KMC workers. Unfortunately, the fifth generation will have to find homes in various parts of the city, including Akhtar Colony, Kashmir Colony, Azam Basti, Azam Town, Korangi, Narain Pura, Essa Nagri, Zia Colony, Nasir Colony, Qayyumabad and Baldia Town.

The Slaughter House was primarily a residential area for minorities, which included 90 per cent Christians and 10 per cent Hindus. There are seven sacred worship places – four churches and three temples. “It is almost empty now,” disclosed an affected elder of the Christian family. “We all are separated now. We won’t be reunited again,” he feared.

What led to such a massive migration out of Slaughter House? The old man said the condition in the area was not suitable for a family to resident. “Our daughters were not safe. Our life and property was at stake,” he explained. “Scores of families left homes without even taking their valuables.”

Though the entire population was being threatened since 2008, the recent clashes between the Lyari gangsters made the older residents leave Lyari forever. The killing of Victor William Bhutta on August 13 near Spencer Eye Hospital and the killings of Yousuf Iqbal alias Joja and Younis Inayat on October 26 led the community to seek shelter elsewhere.

“A lot of the families have left the compound since 2008, after their daughters were kidnapped and raped,” claimed another elder of the community. “No one knows where they have gone. I think some of them migrated to the Punjab.” He recalled an incident when a teenage girl, who was dancing at her brother’s wedding in the compound, was kidnapped in the wedding rush by some gangsters. “Her parents, brother and relatives cried and appealed to the kidnappers but they didn’t listen,” he narrated. “She was dishonoured and was left outside the compound the next morning. That family was never seen in the city again.”

The displaced persons informed The Express Tribune that the gangsters made their lives miserable. They would demand extortion every month in the name of utility bills – Rs300 for a gas connection, Rs400 to Rs500 for electricity. The residents said that the gangsters also occupied the houses of some displaced families.

“The tale doesn’t end here,” the elder was in tears now. “Drugs were being sold freely, including crystal, hashish, heroin and opium,” he counted. “All illegal activities were forced down on us.”

Why didn’t they complain to the police? One of the men who has left Lyari for good smiled at the question. “Where is the law? The police, Rangers and the government know exactly what is going on in Lyari. The criminals rule Lyari, beta [son].” The elders are not very fond of the government either, blaming it for going soft on criminals. “The law enforcers advised us we should leave the compound,” said one man. Meanwhile, Baghdadi SHO Alam Dahiri denied that any migration took place.

These displaced families have yet to be contacted by the government. They are in desperate need of places to stay and a source of livelihood to feed their families.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Teetyar
    Nov 10, 2013 - 2:41AM

    After Kutchi Community, Now Christian’s Community Displaced from Lyari because of Gangwar. Who comes next? Hindus? Ahl-e-Tashees? Bohris? Zikris?


  • Chairman Mao
    Nov 10, 2013 - 9:11AM

    How shameless a nation we have become, where lives/humans have no value,all of these problems arise from the power-struggle between the two major mandate holders of the city/province,Sometimes its the Katchis some times its the pathans some times its the Bouluch and if all is said and done with then its the urdu speaking. when will we as a nation come of age and understand what the reality behind all of this is…… illegal immoral unethical money which is derived from electoral standing is all the matters to the ruling class rest they could not care less about and the funny part about all of this is everyone inclusive of the deaf dumb and the blind know all i have just said…..just notice how these pseudo rulers come on talk shows and rant about their goodness and grace …. yet they can not fix the problems of 50 sq miles of land ….. shame shame shame


  • Arzoo
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:39AM

    A failed state cannot protect the lives and properties of its’ residents.


  • Z
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:41AM

    Where is CJ now? and his suo moto?


  • rasgullah
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:50AM

    And Pakistanis are worried about an Indian real estate ad.


  • ahmed41
    Nov 10, 2013 - 1:04PM

    Minorities need genuine protection, everywhere in the world


  • shailesh karanjkar
    Nov 10, 2013 - 2:40PM

    Yesterday you have published Indian advertisement regarding no Muslim require in the society.I think you have got most logical answer now, why most communities do not want Muslims in their area. In fact, that was Indian news. You should not have worried because Indian laws are capable of taking action if it is required. Better you worry about your minority record than any other Muslims in the world.


  • Ali
    Nov 10, 2013 - 3:54PM

    These Lyari gangs including Uzair Baloch group are recently supported by every so called political party of this country and used these blood thirsty animals against MQM, from PPP who made and use these barbaric animals to PTI, PMLN, Jamat e Islami ANP sindhi Nationalists everyone harbor them and support them, even our media made these criminals political leaders.
    Every single party who supported these gangsters and criminals for their politics are responsible for What is going on in Lyari.
    The biggest question mark is on the performance of Rangers and Police why they are failed to arrest not a single big name of Lyari gang war and according to Express Urdu Sheraz Comrade arrested in lahore is also released with out producing in any court and all these actions shows the reality of operation going on in karachi


  • Arzoo
    Nov 10, 2013 - 5:42PM

    @shailesh karanjkar: You are mixing the two issues. India as a secular and democratic state cannot and should not overlook overt discrimination against a minority, whether it is Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, or anyone else. Pakistan’s situation that you describe is because of Pakistan’s peoples’ failure to abide by and implement its’ own Constitution that guarantees protection of all segments of society. Had you criticized Pakistan for failing to protect its’ minorities you would have been right. But defending a gross human rights violation as demonstrated by the said advertisement printed in India you are trying to compare two wrongs which does not make it right.


  • Nov 10, 2013 - 6:23PM

    “Where is the law? The police, Rangers and the government know exactly what is going on in Lyari. The criminals rule Lyari, beta [son].

    And judges also know, they also part of the game.


  • Zif
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:25PM

    First the Kutchi community and now the Christains, whats going on?? At this rate that day is not far away when it will be my turn. MY TURN….whose father contributed in the creation of Pakistan in ’47 and his family, a muslim family, forced to leave the land. Whats going on?????


  • ali ahmed
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:57PM

    now no commets from MQM ..hater….before MQM was blamed for every crime….now Operation in karachi has exposed the real criminals….supported by the LEA”s


  • Raj Kafir
    Nov 10, 2013 - 10:20PM

    If I am in Pakistan, I will embrace Islam, the religion of peace. By converting I will be the most favoured KAFIR. Only in Pakistan.


  • Nov 11, 2013 - 12:17AM

    All these persecuted minorities – the Baluchis, Sindhis, Christians, Ahmedis, Shias, Hindus are all potential assets India, USA and Israel can will exploit now and in future. Pakistani nation is doing its due share for Mossad, CIA and RAW. Do n not blame us for using assets created for us.


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