50 more houses in Mujahid Colony demolished amid protest

An excavator demolishes a house to clear way for a 150-foot-wide road in Mujahid Colony on Wednesday.—PPI
An excavator demolishes a house to clear way for a 150-foot-wide road in Mujahid Colony on Wednesday.—PPI

KARACHI: Around 50 more houses in district Central’s Mujahid Colony were demolished on Wednesday by the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) amid protest and condemnation by the residents and political parties.

The anti-encroachment staff of the KDA’s estate and enforcement department has so far razed over 250 houses in the locality during the anti-encroachment operation launched a month ago, triggering strong protest by the residents.

Official sources said that the operation in Mujahid Colony would continue till the removal of all encroachments which was meant for a 150-foot-wide road from Nazimabad No 7 to Ziauddin Hospital in North Nazimabad in the master plan.

Karachi Bachao Tehreek convener Khurram Ali blamed the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party for depriving the working class of their houses. “PPP was built upon socialist slogan of ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makaan’, but today they are snatching that Makaan from all the working class of Karachi so that construction and builder mafia can make profits,” he tweeted.

250 houses have been razed for a road connecting Nazimabad No 7 with Ziauddin Hospital; after PSP, ANP also condemns action

A day after Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal condemned the demolition of the houses in Mujahid Colony, calling it “an act of cruelty”, Awami National Party-Sindh president Shahi Syed also condemned the razing of leased houses. Speaking at a press conference, he said that the ANP stood by the victims of Mujahid Colony and would not leave them alone in any case.

He called upon institutions concerned not to take away the houses from the people.

“It is the government’s job to provide housing to its citizens, while here the government is taking away their houses from the people,” he deplored.

Govt to give alternative houses to displaced families

KDA director general Syed Muhammad Ali Shah, who visited the Mujahid Colony, told Dawn that almost 40 per cent of the encroached land had been cleared as the operation would continue until the removal of all encroachments.

He said that the KDA officials along with district administration were conducting a survey of the demolished houses and compiling the details of the affected persons who would be given alternative place for their houses.

“A summary would be moved to the chief minister soon in this regard,” he added.

The KDA chief said that the anti-encroachment operation would be expanded to other parts of the city where state land was encroached upon.

“The officers of the KDA estate and enforcement department have been delegated powers to take action against illegal occupants of the state land under the Sindh Property Removal of Encroachment Act, 2010 so that effective action could be taken against encroachments as directed by the Supreme Court,” he added.

A sizeable contingent of police remained present on the demolition site to avert any untoward incident during the anti-encroachment operation in which heavy machinery including shovels were used to demolish concrete structures.

A group of residents, occasionally joined by passers-by, chanted slogans against the authorities for razing their leased houses.

As many as 200 houses were demolished in Mujahid Colony during the first phase of the operation sparking massive protest by the residents. The protesters had also hurled stones on the track of the Green Line bus and on the vehicular traffic causing a huge traffic jam in parts of the district Central, including Banaras, SITE, Liaquatabad and Five Star traffic intersection, Nawab Siddique Ali Khan Road, Sharah-i-Shershah Suri, KDA Chowrangi, Sharah-i-Humayun and nearby streets.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2022