Slum dwellers protest against impending eviction operation

AFP

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of slum dwellers held a protest on Wednesday against the impending eviction operation that has been announced by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
According to reports, hundreds of slum dwellers gathered outside the National Press Club (NPC) and staged a protest against the alleged manhandling of the residents by the CDA while vacating their mud houses. The protest was started when the CDA announced to launch a grand operation against for slums in the federal capital due to security concerns.
Residents of the slum areas gathered outside the NPC and started chanting anti-government slogans. They appealed the chief justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice against the decision taken by the civic body. The participants of the sit-in, including women and children, alleged that after snatching the social and political rights of the minorities, the authorities are planning to snatch the shelter of the poor residents of these slums. They said that they would not vacate their houses until they are given alternative plots. The protest continued for around two hours.
The representatives of the protesters, including the Katchi Abadi Alliance, demanded the government to allot alternative plots to the slum dweller whose mud houses are demolished. Speaking on the occasion, former federal minister J Salik claimed that after snatching the fundamental political rights of the minorities, the government now is planning to deprive them of their houses. He said that the only crime of the slum dwellers is that they are minorities in the country and have little political voice.
He said that CDA’s decision to demolish 12 slums within the city and the silence of the politicians had proven that they have no interest in the issues of the poor. Salik claimed that a vast majority of the capital’s working class and minorities live in these slums. Salik said that the Interior Ministry is responsible for ensuring peace and order, but instead it has announced a plan that will completely destroy the peace of Islamabad by demolishing the slums. He warned that the residents would never surrender their basic human rights.
It is to be noted that the Islamabad High Court earlier this month had directed the CDA to clear all the slum settlements from the capital within a month in order to ensure security in the city.

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