Need stressed to resolve housing problems of Karachiites


KARACHI: Noted author and historian Gul Hassan Kalmati has underlined the need to make policies in order to build regular housing settlements for labour all across the city and control mushroom growth of Katchi Abadis in Karachi.

He was speaking at a two-day workshop for Peace Committees organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER). Kalmati said that land grabbers and some political parties are behind the creation of Katchi Abadis where people don’t have basic facilities. This mushroom growth of Katchi Abadis has destroyed peace in the city as well.

He recalled pre-partition Karachi City and said that late Jamshed Mehta had developed Karachi and provided all basic facilities to the residents. Kalamti suggested that the government should plan low-cost housing schemes for the working class and provide residential plots to poor on reduced prices. These housing schemes should be provided water, sewerage and other amenities on a priority basis.

He said that in the past no government had prepared any plan to solve residential problems of the people of Karachi. He said under the Supreme Court orders the old markets and residential colonies are being razed, which has created livelihood problem for the local people in the city. He said in a recent campaign the government has demolished thousands of shops in old city areas and no alternative spaces were provided to them. Thousands of people have been rendered jobless due to the unplanned anti-encroachment campaign.

He said Lyari was once a peaceful area where people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds were living peacefully and there was no conflict. But some vested interest political parties provided arms and narcotics to gangster groups, which destroyed the peace of Lyari. He said many operations were conducted in the city for restoration of peace, but those proved to be failures as they were also politically motivated that is why peace has still not restored in the city.

Kalmati said the system of policing needs reforms. There is a need for positive examples within the police for citizens to trust them enough. However, he regretted that police officers are transferred if they are honest. Political parties try to get their own pawns posted as police officers for their vested interests.

He said youth can play an important role in the restoration of peace in Karachi through social mobilisation and creating awareness.

Speaking on the occasion, a youth leader Naghma Iqtidar said that you can play a key role in the restoration of peace. He asked the participants to organise gatherings for peacebuilding activities in their areas. She said we need to take collective actions to get rid of all the issues that we face. As far as cleanliness is concerned, we need to take responsibility for taking care of our own areas.