ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Wednesday observed that the government seemed to be catering to the requirements of privileged classes while ignoring the shelterless and marginalised segments of the society.

The chief justice was hearing a petition challenging the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) ongoing operation against encroachments in katchi abadis.

Though he gave go-ahead to the civic agency to act in accordance with the law, he raised questions on the government ‘unwillingness’ to cater to the needs of the underprivileged class.

Justice Minallah observed, “prima facie, the development model pursued by the federal government and the entities under its control is based on benefiting the privileged classes while the marginalised and poor sections of the society, particularly the shelterless, are ignored.

“Such state policies result in inequitable distribution of state assets, which forms the root cause of poverty, hunger, homelessness and most of the other vices that beset humanity.”

According to IHC chief

justice, the marginalised, poor and vulnerable classes cannot be treated less favourable than the privileged and elite. The state and its functionaries owe a higher duty of care towards the marginalised and vulnerable classes such as those who are shelterless or are living in inhuman conditions in the slum settlements.

Justice Minallah noted that the elite-centric development policies are the worst form of violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights and intolerable in a society governed under the Constitution.

The petitioners raised questions regarding the fundamental rights of inhabitants of “kachi abadis” in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

The court observed that 10 such settlements had been declared as legal and proprietary rights had been granted to more than 4,000 inhabitants. The living condition of the inhabitants are inhuman, cruel and in violation of the guaranteed fundamental rights.

CDA Director General Irfan Khan Niazi assured the court that he would visit the katchi abadi in F-7/4 and inquire about the grievances raised by the petitioners.

The court directed the CDA to facilitate the amici curiae Abid Saqi and Islamabad Bar Council Vice Chairman Zulfiqar Abbasi and advocate Umer Gillani in visiting the katchi Abadis in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

The representative Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency told the court that officials had been nominated in compliance with court order, issued on Aug 10, who will compile a report on environmental issues of katchi abadis and submit it in the court before the next date of hearing.

Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till Sept 22.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2021

Opinion

The sixth wave

The sixth wave

PCR testing has drastically gone down in Pakistan and our disease surveillance system needs much more strengthening.

Editorial

Udaipur killing
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Udaipur killing

The crime committed in Udaipur did not happen in a vacuum.
Unacceptable demand
01 Jul, 2022

Unacceptable demand

THE finance ministry’s projection of 15pc inflation, much higher than the targeted rate of 11.5pc, during the new...
Tough times ahead
01 Jul, 2022

Tough times ahead

THE finance ministry’s projection of 15pc inflation, much higher than the targeted rate of 11.5pc, during the new...
More ‘prior actions’
Updated 30 Jun, 2022

More ‘prior actions’

It is crucial that the IMF reconsiders its stance and releases the funds at the earliest to calm uneasy markets.
Growing power crisis
30 Jun, 2022

Growing power crisis

THE country’s escalating power crisis risks exacerbating the law-and-order situation as people take to the streets...
Attack on polio team
30 Jun, 2022

Attack on polio team

THE threat of deadly violence never seems to diminish for health workers and police officials involved in...