What happened?: On Sunday a different kind of violence took place in the gated community of Bahria. The Sindh Action Committee (SAC) organised a peaceful protest on the outskirts of Karachi. However, reports state that a mob broke away from the protestors and pushed their way inside. They set fire to two international food franchises, a car showroom, realtors offices, several vehicles, and even the main gateway. The property was maliciously destroyed, and it triggered panic and fear amongst residents.
Why it happened?: Behind the veneer of a carefully constructed ‘heaven on earth’ violence in Bahira Town, Karachi has been ongoing for years. Indigenous farming communities have been forced to surrender their land which is not only the source of their livelihoods but it is land that they have called home for generations. Bahira town personnel along with local authorities have used different tactics to coerce these communities. They have uprooted villages, raided and threatened those who resist ,sometimes arresting them on illegitimate terrorism charges.
Why did it get worse?: Matters took a violent turn despite the presence of police contingents, who would have been given advance notice that a large number of people and organisations from across the province, including nationalist parties were going to congregate outside. Therefore, SAC has pointed the finger at Bahira personnel themselves for having staged the violence to sabotage their peaceful protest
Whatever the case might be this new development of events can provide the developers with the perfect excuse to crack down on locals. The freedom with which Bahira operates ignoring the law and rights of local populations has the potential to drive a wedge between the different ethnic groups in the country, deepen socio-economic inequality, and such a model of development is unsustainable in the long run.
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