Over 1,000 Slum Dwellers

What is affected
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 16 April 2012
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Pakistan
Location Bhara Kahu, Islamabad

Affected persons

Total 1000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution

Forced eviction
Housing losses
- Number of homes
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Capital Development Authority
Brief narrative

ISLAMABAD, April 16: Two bulldozers of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) delivered a rude message to a community of over 1,000 slum-dwellers in Bhara Kahu on Monday to leave the area as they were “a security risk”.

“They demolished our two houses with the warning that we must clear our more than 20-year-old settlement near Kiyani Road by Friday or face eviction,” said Rohullah, as he pulled down the makeshift roof of his shanty house.

Haji Nawab Khan, head of the slum community as he was the first to settle there, however, thought “the security risk” was a ruse to clear land for the use of the community’s big neighbour, Senator Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, the chairman of the Senate.

“In mid-2000s, an NGO, Education Health and Development Foundation, opened a school here in which over 150 students from class I to VI are now studying. But on Saturday, the teachers were told to pack up leaving the institution closed,” said Mr Khan.

Shah Mohammad, a student, said he had studied in the school for awhile and was now doing I.Com from the Federal Government Commerce College, H-8. “The school management helped the area children and it is only because of them that I am now studying in a college.”

Another resident, Mir Rehman said about six years back Mr Bokhari’s people started constructing a palace over tens of kanals in the area. “We were happy that we will get protection because of him but now he has become a threat to us.”

He said the Senate chairman had told them that the slum was not only creating a bad look for his house but had also become a security risk for VIPs who visited him.

Sources said as the slum straddled the limits of both the Secretariat and Bhara Kahu police, a letter was sent to the Ministry of Interior by the SHO of Secretariat, stating that the slum was a security risk. The latter was later forwarded to the CDA with the directive to remove the settlement.

An official of the CDA requesting anonymity said there were so many katchi abadis in the urban areas and near the diplomatic enclave but the civic agency never removed them only because they were not in front of the residence of any political personality.

Raja Fazil, the chairman of the EHD foundation, told Dawn that initially the area children were taught under a tree and later six rooms were constructed for them. He said for the last two weeks, the number of students had been decreasing because some of the dwellers had left.

Chairman CDA Farkhand Iqbal also said the slum was a security risk and it would be removed. The SHO of Secretariat police, Hakim Khan, said he had sent the letter to the ministry because that sort of slums can be a security risk.

When contacted, Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bokhari rejected the impression that he was behind the removal of the slum.

“There are two reasons for the removal of the slum: the first is CDA wants to construct a 600-foot-wide road in the area and work on the project will start soon. Second, being chairman of the Senate, sometimes I become the acting President of Pakistan, so security agencies might have reported that the slum should be removed to ensure my security.”

Original article

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