ISLAMABAD - The standoff between the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and slums residents in Islamabad showed no signs of abating following yet another inconclusive meeting between a delegation of All Pakistan Alliance for Katchi Abadis and CDA Member Administration Amir Ali Ahmed here on Monday.
In response to lack of a breakthrough, katchi abadi dwellers are expected to come out onto the streets again in thousands on Wednesday in accordance with the timeline given during the previous rally held last week.
The dozen or so members of the delegation, led by Alia Amirali of Awami Workers Party (AWP) and including representatives of I-11 katchi abadi which faces the most urgent threat of eviction, met with the CDA member administration following yet another failed attempt to meet the CDA chairman Maroof Afzal who has not yet acceded to the Alliance's repeated written requests to meet.
During the meeting Amir Ali Ahmed refused to commit to a dialogue to discuss resettlement options for all katchi abadis that cannot be regularised in their given location, and in fact reiterated the CDA's established position that at least 12 katchi abadis in the capital were considered encroachments that had no legal claim whatsoever.  The member administration singled out I-11 katchi abadi - often referred to as Afghan Basti - as the primary target of the eviction drive, noting that the CDA had instructions from the ministry of interior to empty out the settlement using all means necessary.
AWP leader Alia Amirali rejected the continuing propaganda against the residents of I-11 katchi abadi as a 'haven for terrorism' as completely baseless challenging the CDA and local administration to produce hard evidence in this regard. She reiterated that the misinformation being spread through media was simply a cheap tactic to distract from the government's complete failure to actually address the countrywide problem of millenarian violence.
She said that individuals and organisations spreading hate were allowed to operate with impunity and the targeting of the poor living in katchi abadis was a convenient way of covering up the complicity of the authorities with groups that have long been considered 'strategic assets' by the military establishment.
Meanwhile, the contribution of katchi abadi dwellers to the maintenance of Islamabad city was being ignored. The protest planned for this Wednesday follows on the back of a large rally on the 26th of March which was called off only when the local administration and police asked for a week time to take up the issue of katchi abadis with the CDA and government high-ups.
However in the intervening few days there has been no signal by the authorities that any steps are being taken to address the concerns of katchi abadi dwellers and the member administration's comments on Monday made clear that there was no plan to permanently call off the eviction drive.