Sale of Sind islands: Fishermen’s houses razed, PFF announce taking to streets against the move on Wednesday

Karachi: Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on Tuesday criticized the government’s decision of allowing the people of business tycoon, who razed makeshift abodes of fishermen, located at islands and have started installing tents for development.

PFF spokesman said they are going to mobilize indigenous communities country-wide on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 when specially marine and inland fishermen, farmers, forest people and herders will gather to show strength against the sale of twin islands—Dingi and Bundar and the hostile approach against the local communities.

Some people came to the islands early on Tuesday with infrastructure tools brought on boats to the places and panicked the local people, he said.

He said a large number of people will take to streets in all the major cities, towns, lakes and highways to oppose the move to ink deal with business tycoons by government without taking local people in to confidence.

Major rally will be taken out in Karachi, while similar protest demonstrations will be held in all the major cities, towns and highways.

“This protest is just to convey message to all the national political parties that the PPP has sold out the natural resources and the people want justice to save their assets. It is up to these political parties’ leaderships how they respond to this kind of discrimination with the coastal communities, who are being thrown out in the name of development,” said PFF chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah.

“We appeal to the communities depending on marine and inland resources to recognize friends and foes in this election, so they may live a safe life. Because certain elements are in the move to occupy their natural resources, depriving them of their sources of living,” he said.
He appealed to the people to express solidarity with the fishermen of Karachi, especially those depending in islands for their livelihoods.

Government of Pakistan has sold out two ancient islands of Karachi- Dingi and Bhundaar to real estate tycoons. It has been planned to develop “Safe Island City” on these islands at the cost of the lives of thousands of indigenous fisher families. Not only the livelihood rights of hundreds of thousands fishers will be violated but the natural ecology of the sea will be destroyed and thousands hectares of mangrove forests will also be wiped out to expose the Karachi city to natural disasters.