Karachi has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, which has been described by WHO as a variant of increased transmissibility. Without any regard for public health or for the lives of the Gujjar and Orangi Nullah residents, KMC has recently decided to expedite ongoing demotions.
Karachi’s COVD-19 positivity rate has surged to an all-time high. At the same time, KMC has increased all efforts to demolish the houses within the next 15 days. Furthermore, as the Sindh Government prepares for a lockdown, a loss of livelihood for these residents is anticipated; and yet, additional, undue financial instability and strain is being inflicted on them.
To date, no form of alternate housing has been provided to the Gujjar and Orangi Nullah residents, nor have they been adequately monetarily compensated. Although some residents had been promised the mere payment of Rs. 90,000 per household for six months (Rs.15,000 per household per month), this promise has not been fulfilled either. The cheques that were handed to the residents have all bounced – that is, these cheques have been dishonest (an offence under the Pakistan Penal Code).
As homes are being demolished, the presence of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh police teams, and city wardens is to be increased on demand by the Sindh government. This continues to ensure that the aggrieved residents cannot even protest to demand their rights and save their homes. Aggression and intimidation continue to violently suppress the rights of these residents, who are being forced into homelessness in the midst of the deadly pandemic.