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Who is CDA Trying to Appease by Threatening Katchi Abadi Dwellers in Islamabad?

Who is CDA Trying to Appease by Threatening Katchi Abadi Dwellers in Islamabad?

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The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is has tightened its reigns with the anti-encroachment drive against illegal dwellings and buildings in Pakistan. Just a day ago, this the Enforcement Directorate and the Municipal Administration Directorates (DMA) of CDA carried out joint operations at Faizabad against an inter-city bus service and demolished four rooms, two canteen cabins, two ticket counters, and a shed. In a three day operation, the CDA removed over 50 structures, including marquees, shops, and houses, which were constructed on the right of way of Kashmir Highway in G-12. This hastiness runs simultaneously to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) hinting that action will be taken against CDA officials who were basically asleep when the foundations of these encroachments were being laid in the first place. All this is well and good – CDA is well within the legal jurisdiction to take action against these encroachments.

katchi abadi

Image Source: Express Tribune

However, as with most things subaltern that are brushed aside, there is very little focus on a tiny side business that the CDA has concerned itself with.

Awami Worker’s Party member and political activist, Ammar Rashid, posted the following video on Facebook:

Stop the CDA from demolishing the homes of the poor!Despite a Supreme Court stay order barring katchi abadi evictions in Islamabad, CDA officials are threatening working class katchi abadi residents in Islamabad with demolition of their homes under the guise of an 'anti-encroachment' operation. They have given these residents of katchi abadi in G-11 until Friday to evacuate their homes, after which they will be thrown into the streets.Humans are not encroachments that can be wiped off the land. These are citizens of Pakistan whose labour helps this city function. They live here because there is no affordable housing for the poor in Islamabad. If the Prime Minister is serious about resolving the low income housing crisis in Pakistan, he can start by ordering CDA to stop destroying the shacks of the poorest and providing existing katchi abadi residents with dignified shelter. Please speak out and ensure we do not create more man-made disasters like the I-11 katchi abadi eviction.#CDAStopEvictions#HousingCrisis

Posted by Ammar Rashid on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

In a katchi abadi dwelling in Islamabad’s G-11 sector. A resident of the dwelling describes in detail that the CDA has threatened them to pick up their possessions and leave. She also explains how the upper-class people around consider them to be a menace in the area as they deem the katchi abadi dwellers to be involved in activities such as stealing etc.

We don’t even have to go into how a narrative of criminalizing the poor creates a gentrified society, which is meant for the appeasement of the upper-class elitists and nothing else. Questions of hard work will also inevitably be raised here to reprimand those living below the poverty line, without realizing or discussing the systemic injustices that disallow their social mobility in the first place.

Arguing against such rebuttals to an assertion of how wrong CDA’s threat is on humanitarian or moral grounds is perhaps talking to a blank wall.

We can concern ourselves, however, with the legality of the matter.

Ammar Rashid has detailed that the Supreme Court has a stay order in effect against the demolition of the katchi abadis. Then why is there such haste in destroying what little these people have? And who is CDA trying to appease with this move? The elitists of G-11? or NAB officials who are on the tails of CDA to do better?

 

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