Nobody to vacate house sans compensation

KARACHI – Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Saturday held a protest demonstration to express solidarity with the victims of anti-encroachment drive and demanded punishment for those involved in China-cutting. The protest was held outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC), in which MQM-P leaders, supporters along with the victims of the drive participated. They were carrying placards and banners in their hands, inscribed with slogans such as “Take Action Against Land Grabbers”, “Lease Our Houses” and others.

Addressing the participants, MQM-P Convener Dr Farooq Sattar said that land mafia was demolishing the houses of poor people. “It is an attempt to weaken the MQM-P as most of the people are supporters of the party,” he said, and added that though the party respected orders of the courts, but it should be kept in mind that these people had purchased this land and had also paid for the construction of their houses. “The government should compensate the victims of the drive,” he demanded.

Vowing to raise the issue in Sindh Assembly and Senate, Sattar made it clear that none of the residents would vacate their houses until the government settled the compensation issue.

He said that MQM-P workers, councillors, MPAs and leaders would stand with the people, if machinery was sent to bulldoze any house.

MQM-P convener, while expressing annoyance over the demolition drive, initiated by the Karachi Development Authority (KDA), Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and other authorities concerned, said that it was unfortunate that 90 percent encroachments had been neglected while 10 percent were being targeted by labelling them as China-cutting. “Why did not the authorities take action when development works were underway in the city on amenity and other plots and now poor people were being punished for the crimes committed by the land mafia,” questioned Sattar.

MQM-P Deputy Convener and Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhter, during his address, said that the victimization of people of Karachi had not halted and it was regrettable that despite protests, they were deprived of their rights.

He said that the protest was not against the Supreme Court’s decision, but it was against the non-seriousness of the provincial government. “The courts should take action against the root cause of the issues, urged Waseem and demanded the provision of alternate land to those whose houses were razed to the ground. MQM-P deputy convener Kamran Tissori, Coordination Committee Member Abdul Waseem also spoke on the occasion.

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