I-11 dwellers gathering ashes, looking for shelter

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All the slums of the federal capital’s Sector I-11 have been demolished by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in a three-day anti-encroachment operation which concluded on Saturday.

A number of residents who are comparatively well-off and have alternative residences and relatives in the twin cities have left the place while others have shifted to their relatives’ houses or have rented houses in the capital’s suburbs and in Tarnol, Fauji Colony and Bangish Colony in Rawalpindi.

However, the situation is perplexing for those who have no alternative place to fall back on and no money to rent an abode.

One of them is Gul Darvesh who is not certain about his future destination. With his elders being from Mohmand Agency, Darvesh was born in I-11 slums in 90s and now works in Sabzi Mandi to sustain a living for his 13-member family.

He told Pakistan Today that he and his mother spent the last two nights looking after their remaining household items which escaped being bulldozed by CDA Enforcement Staff. He said that due to poor economic condition of the family, they could not afford housing in Islamabad or Pindi but might move toward Tarnol to make another mud house.

Furthermore, Munir Khan, another katchi abadi resident from FATA, told Pakistan Today that he was unaware where he would move his family. Disturbed, he keeps looking at the debris of his razed house and spent the whole night on the green belt with his household items. However, he was certain that he was not going to his ancestral home town because of war and operations. He said that there were no employment opportunities in his own area because of the law and order situation so he would prefer staying here for work and for his family’s safety.

However some Afghan families who were residing there said that they were leaving for Afghanistan. For instance, Taj Gul told Pakistan Today that now there was no place for him and for his family in Pakistan so they were leaving for Afghanistan. He said that his home town was in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan which was marred with war but he had no alternative.

Meanwhile, the CDA officials seem busy in fencing the land after the removal of the illegal encroachment to avoid any further occupation.

A CDA official Kazmi said that the authority had provided a few trucks to those who wanted to move out of Islamabad but owning to scarcity of trucks, the authority could not fulfill the demand of all dwellers.