Slum dwellers demand end to evictions

January 26, 2004

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 25: The All-Pakistan Alliance of Kutchi Abadis at a convention here on Sunday demanded of the government to implement the National Kutchi Abadi Policy 2001 and either regularize their settlements or resettle all the slum dwellers in the country.

A large number of kutchi abadi dwellers from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad as well as office bearers from other cities participated in the meeting.

The convention was presided over by Alliance president Zahid Ali Anjum from Lahore. Various resolutions adopted on the occasion said summary evictions should be stopped forthwith and those responsible for evicting kutchi abadi dwellers be punished.

It said resettlement schemes such as that in Alipur Farash should involve affected communities, provide plots for each displaced family and ensure supply of basic facilities such as electricity, gas and sewerage, to them.

It said regularization procedures should be consistent and non-discriminatory, acknowledging the proprietary rights of each family. Agencies such as Pakistan Railways that continue to demolish kutchi abadis should either provide affordable housing options to widows and other marginalised groups or else compensate those whose homes have been demolished.

It was pointed out that state and political elite had been exploiting kutchi abadi dwellers for their self interests without meeting the genuine needs of the slum dwellers.