ISLAMABAD: The fate of nearly 85,000 residents of 42 illegal settlements across Islamabad is uncertain as the Capital Development Authority has directed them to vacate the state or private land.
“Notices have been served in the backdrop of a planned operation likely to commence on Wednesday (today) against illegal slums in Islamabad in the light of directions of the Islamabad High Court,” said the CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid.
Sajid said the CDA had submitted a comprehensive plan regarding anti-encroachment operation with the IHC.
Read: Katchi abadis case: Crackdown on illegal slums after Eid, CDA tells court
On June 26, the CDA submitted a four phased plan with the court. The plan was devised in consultation with the Ministry of Interior, Islamabad Police and the city administration.
Pakistan Rangers is likely to participate the operation but not during the first phase.
CDA Member Administration and Estate Amer Ali Ahmed said illegal settlements at sectors G-7, I-12, H-11, I-10, H-10 and Bari Imam will be targeted in the first phase.
Read: Abolishing slums : Workers’ party, slum residents to resist plans
According to the plan, in the second phase slums in Chak Shahzad, Dhoke Pattan, Khanna Pull Road, New Shakrial and Shams Colony will be targeted while in the third phase, slums of Bheka Syedan, Sumbol Karok, G-12, F-12, and some parts of E-12 will be targeted. In the last phase, katchi abadis in sectors G-7/1, G-7/2, G-7/3-2, F-6/2 and F-7/4 will be removed.
However, no timeframe has been submitted with the court about the completion of the anti-encroachment operation. The court has been told that the operation at every katchi abadi would be completed within two to 10 days.
Over 700 staffers of the enforcement wing of CDA would participate in the operation.
According to a survey of the special branch, there are at least 42 katchi abadis in urban and rural areas of the city, with 13,521 families consisting of 84,591 individuals. Out of these 42 settlements, 31 are located in urban areas while the others are in rural Islamabad. IHC is due to hold the next hearing into the katchi abadi case on July 24.
The other side
Awami Workers Party (AWP) Punjab President Dr Aasim Sajjad Akhtar told The Express Tribune that the “unjust operation would be resisted peacefully at every level”.
Akhtar said AWP would be holding a rally in front of the National Press Club on July 23 to highlight the plight of slum dwellers and state’s indifferent behavior towards them.
Akhtar was of the view that during the course of hearing into the case, the court did not hear the point of view of slum residents — who are the major stakeholders in the case.
He said the court also did not give consideration to the national housing policy that provides for provision of alternate housing to poor before evicting them from one place.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2015.
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