‘People displaced by infrastructure projects being ignored’

KARACHI: Rights activists and members of civil society under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee addressed a press conference to discuss the plight of affectees of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Malir Expressway and the Gujjar Nullah anti-encroachment drive at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday.

Those who addressed the press conference included town planner Arif Hasan, Karamat Ali of Piler, Asad Iqbal Butt of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Mahnaz Rahman of Aurat Foundation, Hanif Dilmurad of Indigenous Rights Alliance, among others.

Speaking about the Karachi Circular Railway, they said that reviving it has hurt badly the people of Quaid-i-Azam Colony, Gharibabad, Moosa Colony and Wahid Colony. As many as 1,100 families have been displaced from these areas and despite court orders to provide them alternative living places, it has not happened even after almost two years.

Coming to the Malir Expressway, they said there are very old settlements around the farms in Malir from where they plan to cut out routes for the expressway now. It will not just displace the people living there but also affect the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from Malir to the rest of the city.

They concluded that be it the Malir Expressway, Gujjar Nullah, Manzoor Colony Nullah or the ML-1 route, plans for all these projects should not be allowed to move any further without environment impact assessment, which is also a legal requirement.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2021

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