Islamabad (Pakistan): Update on katchi abadis

On Wednesday August 26, the Supreme Court of Pakistan requested that the city of Islamabad stop the demolitions of katchi abadis (squatter settlements) [previously on S!N]. The court viewed the evictions as unconstitutional and also wanted to know why the city had ordered property owners not to rent to the evicted squatters.

In a long essay blaming planning for the current situation in which the poor are squeezed out to make homes for the rich, it is argued that:

If the capital city of Islamabad was meant to be home to different social groups, classes and ethnicities in Pakistan, it has utterly failed to achieve this vision. Instead it has provided segregated space for the powerful, wealthy and aspiring social classes, upper-middle to high-income groups, bureaucrats, and the military. The modernist city of Islamabad is seen by many as the perfect example of effective planning, but it is perfect only if one belongs to the privileged sections of society. The city’s master plan and development schemes have ensured that the well-off lead comfortable lives in the capital – one of the reasons why we find it easy to settle-in and appreciate the clean, green streets and public spaces in the city. However, it has deliberately and systematically excluded the poor from truly making it their home. These are the same men and women who have built the city and help keep it clean and green.