Residents of Mujahid Colony in Karachi have still not gotten over the impact of the demolition drive that began in October by the Karachi Development Authority (KDA). Over 400 families saw their homes turned to rubble overnight, while one man was said to have even lost his life as a crane crunched over the rubble.
“We were told the road would be widened here, and now we have nowhere to go,” says Sajjad Ali, a resident of the colony. “My family and I had a four-storied building, but now it’s just a pile of debris.”
The speed of the demolitions left residents with no time to even remove their belongings, including daily laborer Mudassir, who has decided to set up camp on the wreckage of his former home.
Residents also reported police brutality during the demolitions, with reports of women being humiliated, beaten and taken away in vans, and children being targeted as well.
The economic and social impact of the demolitions has been severe for the colony’s residents. “Our children’s education has been affected,” says Saima, a resident. “As all our savings were invested in our houses, we’re now destitute.”
Zahid Farooq, of Urban Resource Center, claims that the colony had been living on the land for decades, even before the division of the subcontinent. He accused that the demolition was the result of powerful people having interest in the land.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has raised concerns about the forced displacement and mistreatment of residents in Mujahid Colony, calling it a violation of Pakistan’s constitution, human rights, and international laws. Asad Butt, Vice Chairman HRCP, Sindh, was specifically disappointed by the violence inflicted on women by female police personnel, stating that it would “spread anarchy in the country.”
The affected families have appealed to the government for assistance in rebuilding their homes and securing their children’s education and future.
The demolitions by KDA in Mujahid Colony have left hundreds without homes and struggling to make ends meet. As they pick up the pieces of their lives, they call on the government and authorities to take responsibility for their actions and provide support for those affected.