AWP discusses common problems with residents of Katchi abadiesJuly 28, 2013
Islamabad: The Awami Workers Party AWP on Sunday organized a political dialogue with activists and residents of the katchi abadis of Islamabad to discuss common problems and formulate strategy against the recent eviction drives and the general anti-poor policies of the newly elected government.
Almost half of the total urban population of Pakistan lives in katchi abadis, including 150,000 of the million residents of Islamabad spread across 22 katchi abadis, though CDA recognizes only 11 abadis.
These abadis first emerged as temporary settlements of the labour that built the city, though the number of residents has increased in recent years due to increasing urban poverty and inflow of people displaced by violence in KPK, earthquake in Kashmir, floods, and religious prosecution.
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar of AWP noted that while the government claims that the issue is of illegal occupation of land, the real problem’s the failure of the government and capitalist system to provide employment, basic amenities, and shelter for the working classes and the poor.
He said that “the struggle will last till we find a permanent solution, which requires the working classes and the poor to take matters in their own hands, instead of acting when the bulldozers are outside your doors.”
Despite its rhetoric of being pro-poor, the PMLN government is notorious among activists and working classes for its past eviction drives and anti-poor policies.
The newly elected government has started an aggressive campaign against the fruit and vegetable stalls in sabzi-mandi. It has also started registering “household servants” and “slum dwellers” and has launched eviction drives on the false pretext of preventing criminal activities.
The situation of individual abadis and particular problems were also discussed. Sheikh Abdur Rahman of I9 katchi abadi asked participants to stop looking at politicians for solving their problems, and field their own candidates in the local body elections.
Zaheer Shah of Muslim colony stressed the need to organize the youth and women. “We can only be successful when our women will fully participate in this movement.” Patras Joseph of France Colony pointed out that even the 11 abadis that are recognized by the CDA fear evictions and demolitions.
Participants included AWP members, National Students Federation NSF, and residents from these bastis: Muslim Colony, Allama Iqbal Colony, 48 quarters, 100 quarter, France Colony, Maskeenabad and Musharraf Colony, I9 abadi, Phatak colony, Meherabad, I-11 Basti, and Farash.