IN 2018, on the basis of a judgement passed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, according to some estimates, 7,000 hawkers were removed from the streets of Karachi. They lost their source of income. As a result of this, their children could not go to school, many were turned out of their homes as they could not pay their rent, and still others lost their decades-old business relations.

The state had promised them alternatives to what they had lost, but such alternatives never materialised. Importers of various items, from within Pakistan and abroad, manufacturers of the goods they sold, and the supply chain of these materials were badly fractured. Billions of rupees in business and trade ceased to be, and Karachi's formal and informal economy suffered.

In 2019, 1,100 homes accommodating more than 10,000 persons were bulldozed along the circular railway track. Till this day, the residents are living on the rubble of their homes without a proper toilet and cooking facilities. Again, their children cannot go to school. In May 2020, more than a year after their demolition, the Supreme Court ordered that within a year, they should be rehabilitated in a decent manner with all infrastructure facilities. To date, that order has not even begun to be implemented.

Then 7,500 families were evicted as a result of demolitions of the Gujjar, Orangi and Mahmoodabad nullahs so that Karachi may not flood. But it still floods. In September, at a gathering at the KDA Chowrangi North Nazimabad, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari promised that the government will provide alternative homes to the affected persons. The Sindh chief minister repeated the same thing two or three times.

Alternatives for the uprooted and evicted have not materialised.

In the 2020-21 budget, Rs2 billion were allocated for rehabilitation. However, no rehabilitation has taken place and the victims are forced to live in open spaces between their homes or with their neighbours. In the 2022-23 budget, the rehabilitation allocation has increased to Rs9bn.

More recently, residents of Mujahid Colony who have lived in the area, many of them since 1947, have had their homes bulldozed. This is because they are considered encroachers. Thirteen of Mujahid Colony's 28 acres have received leases from the Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority. The demolitions in the colony were carried out in an extremely brutal manner, which included the caning of women demonstrators and the manhandling of young girls by a male police...

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