Islamabad - Inhabitants of Allama Iqbal Colony, G-7, mostly populated with Christian community, are living in miserable unhygienic conditions without basic amenities like clean water, electricity and gas.

This colony is situated on the bank of a large seasonal drain which brings flood in this residential area every year in rainy season. Most of the people living here are employed in sanitary department of Capital Development Authority, but they themselves are deprived of clean environment and basic necessities of life.

Shakeel Maseeh, a sanitary worker told The Nation that there are around 550 houses in this colony but there are only two water pumps installed here while people use buckets to fetch water. He said the residents bring drinking water from a nearby filtration plant which was set up by a political personality of the area. “We are citizens of this city but we have no right to live comfortably,” he added.

Because of no electricity in the area, the people are forced to spend most of their time sitting outside their homes and when the sun sets, night becomes another challenge for them, especially in summers. Although many residents have made alternate arrangements for electricity like generators, UPS and solar plant, yet everyone living there cannot afford such facilities. According to Shakeel, people living here cannot watch TV, charge their mobile phones or even cannot wear ironed clothes because of non-availability of electricity. Another resident Munawar Maseeh said there are around 6,000 registered voters in this colony and they supported Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate Asad Umer in general elections, but since he became member of the parliament, he doesn’t want to listen to problems of the residents. “It is simple. He pays no attention to our voice because he doesn’t like us,” he added.

Residents of Allama Iqbal Colony requested several times to concerned departments to provide them with electricity connection from the nearby transformer, but their plea was rejected on the basis that they have no property rights here.

Shakeel Maseeh told The Nation that these miseries are transferring to his next generation now. He said her eight-year-old daughter was returned to home from school because her uniform was not properly ironed. “Sending our children to schools is very difficult for the poor people like us, while fulfilling such demands of school is another problem,” he added. Women complained that even cooking is a difficult task for them and they have to bring wood from nearby jungle to cook food.

Asia Bibi whose husband is a sanitary worker and she herself works as a housemaid said, “Life is very horrible here.” She said when it rains, water enters her home. “Because we use wood for cooking purposes, it is always a danger of fire eruption here,” she added.

Anything that brings a little sense of comfort to the residents of Allama Iqbal Colony is the bridge that was constructed on the nullah due to the efforts of their pasture. Construction of the bridge has reduced the house collapse incidents in the colony; however water still surges when it rains.

Despite living in such an inadequate situation, these residents of the colony are still happy with the thought that at least the government has allowed them to live here because it is very difficult for them to move from here now.

Salamat Maseeh said, “I am thankful to the government, which has not evacuated us from this place. The poor have no right to live, we are happy at least we are alive.”