Islamabad - “Terrorists demolished my house in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the state did the same thing by demolishing my home in the federal capital of the country.”

A female lawmaker from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sitara Ayaz remarked this quoting a recently displaced person as a result of operation of Capital Development Authority (CDA) in the slum area of sector I-11 of Islamabad.

Speaking on an adjournment motion of ANP lawmaker Sitara Ayaz, the lawmakers in the house severely condemned the action of the government by demolishing the hundreds of houses in slum of I-11 what they said that it was the responsibility of the state to provide housing facilities to the masses.

They said that the dwellers of slum either should be resettled or they must be given compensation. They demanded withdrawal of anti-terrorism cases against the protestors and demanded action against responsible CDA officials who got settled these people on an allotted land. They said that Pashtuns were being victimized, as the most of the residents of the slum were Pashtuns of tribal areas of the country.

A senior PPP lawmaker Farhatullah Babar said that the credibility of state and society was being bulldozed when CDA was bulldozing slum of Islamabad. “The CDA took illegal action to demolish illegal settlement,” he said adding that they did not support illegal settlements. He said that CDA violated relevant law through this action. “The CDA wrongly stated that Afghan nationals were living in that settlement as according to a survey of UNHCR, only 10 percent Afghan nationals were living there,” he said. If criminals, as the government claims, were living there, the CDA dispersed them through demolishing their homes, he viewed. “In 1997, CDA allotted land of the said sector but the settlement had been there since 80s.” He demanded formation of a special committee or the matter should be referred to the Senate Standing Committee concerned for further probe as to who was responsible for the whole fiasco.

Babar said that it was a crime of state and society that both could not give alternate place to these displaced people. “There are two sets of laws in the country, one for the poor and other for the rich.” He said that lands were allotted to defence institutions in the past for specific purposes but they misused these lands by building golf courses and recreational centres. And in 2007, then government through an executive order condoned of all these irregularities. “We are heading towards extreme social instability,” he said. He questioned whether any action was taken against responsible CDA officials in the instant matter.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab said that action had not been taken against any ethnicity or a tribe but it was an allotted land of 490 allottees.

He said that initially Afghan refugees were got settled at this land but when they left, they sold their houses to local people illegally.

Earlier, Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet, he said.

He disagreed with the lawmakers that there were two different laws in the country, one for the poor and other for the rich. “There is only one law of state but this law only applies on common persons,” he said.

He said that CDA usurped the rights of allottees and the standing committee should probe what action CDA took against those officials who got settled these people on allotted land. The committee should probe who was involved in the case and what action was taken, he remarked.

“What were the conditions that necessitated such extreme action and is the arrest of citizens justified and are ATA laws applicable to protestors in the instant case,” Rabbani said that the committee should probe these points.