bond - for international development
eVICTION IN kARACHI

tThe poor communities across the city are facing increasing threats of evictions. Under the government policy most of settlements were regularized (notified for awarding land titles).  Through an extensive lobbying by the network of communities along with URC, the government has extended the cut of date for land titling from 23rd March 1985 to June 1997. Despite growing resistance, the forced evictions are open facts against the poor communities. Once again the government is not fulfilling its responsibilities and obligations of awarding acceptable compensations or resettlements. Also poor are not given written notices and adequate time before their displacement.

Over 2,500 housing units were demolished along the Gujjar Nullah (drain) in the last six months of 2016. This was first phase of drain widening program. According to the proposed project over 30,000 families will be displace along the Gujjar Nullah. In recent demolition operation the communities were given a week time to vacate their houses. This was not enough time for the families to arrange alternative shelters and this has increased their sufferings. Many children lost their schooling, beside number of men and women losing their jobs. No compensation or alternative land was awarded to the communities against their losses. These evictions were took place against government policy to provide adequate compensation or a proper resettlement. URC along with communities continued their efforts to stop further demolition. URC obtained the details of the government proposed project and this information was also shared with communities. A number of meetings were also held with concerned officials and politicians to stop these evictions. After completion of first phase further evictions were stopped.

The displaced communities of the Gujjar Nullah with the support of URC have filed a petition at National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) on the violation of human rights and housing rights. The case is pending before the NCHR for the hearing.

 

Proposed evictions along Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) Track: The government is working on a proposal to revitalize the local train of KCR and extend other rail facilities in Karachi.  These proposals are also involved large scale of displacement of the poor communities. According to estimate figures over 10,000 families are facing eviction threat due to this project. Recently this project was given under the list of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. This shows the government’s urgency to implement this project. The Chief Minister of Sindh Government also issued instructions for the demolition of the houses. The government did not announce any resettlement plan or compensations for the families, which have been living along the railway and will be displaced under this project.

URC held a number of meetings with community network of KCR to mobilize the communities to lobby against the forced evictions. URC is supporting the communities to protect their housing rights and negotiate with government for a proper compensation or resettlement. The community network is actively informing and contacting the concerns of authorities as well as political leaders through meetings and letter writings.