Islamabad: Activists of the Awami Workers Party AWP, the All Pakistan Alliance for Katchi Abadis, and scores of katchi abadi residents held a demonstration on Monday at I9 Colony, Islamabad, to protest against the proposed eviction of katchi abadi dwellers of the twin cities.
Monday’s protest demonstration was one in a continuing series of demonstrations and meetings of Rawalpindi-Islamabad katchi abadi dwellers to organize themselves against the incoming PMLN government’s renewed efforts to ‘beautify the twin cities’ and ‘fight terrorism’ by evicting katchi abadi dwellers from their homes.
Apart from I9 Colony residents, representatives from various katchi abadis of Islamabad participated in the demonstration, namely H11 Phatak Colony, I11 colony, Muslim Colony, and France Colony F7. They were joined by activists of the Awami Workers Party and National Students Federation, who have been organizing the anti-eviction movement of the katchi abadi dwellers.
Speaking on the occasion, AWP leader Aasim Sajjad Akhtar said that the routine pre-election promises made by mainstream political parties to katchi abadi dwellers have proved yet again to be hollow and false.
He said that the only way for the working classes to survive and ensure that their basic daily requirements of food, clothing, and shelter are met, is through an organized struggle that unites working peoples across religious, ethnic, gender, and caste lines.
Sheikh Abdur Rahman, representing the I9 Colony which hosted the demonstration, motivated his fellow residents to join the anti-eviction movement. “If we want to live like human beings with dignity and respect, we must unite against the ruling classes who call us ‘terrorists’ and declare our claims ‘illegal’. For them, politics is simply a moneymaking enterprise.”
He repented having been a worker for a mainstream political party for many years of his life, and vowed to stand for the upcoming local bodies elections from the platform of the Awami Workers Party. Nazish Zahoor, convenor of the AWP Islamabad chapter, said that the AWP and katchi abadi residents would not rest until their demands for permanent residence and basic amenities had been met. He said it was unacceptable for the government to force katchi abadi residents to leave their homes without providing secure, acceptable alternatives.
Addressing the demonstrators, Muzaffar Khan of H11 colony and Fazal Shah of I11 colony stressed the need for all katchi abadi dwellers of the twin cities to unite, irrespective of their particular problems or legal status. They said that all abadis of the twin cities must collectively ensure that the upcoming public rally is successful in giving a wakeup call to the rulers.