Shanty towns and their fate stays the same

ISLAMABAD: Gypsy children are playing outside their shelter home at sector H-9 in federal capital. PHOTO: Waseem Khan
By: Asem Mustafa Awan

These all small shanty towns which pop up at open space wherever it is convenient. Hosting people who live on day to day basis as life for them is hundreds of years old and they are denied the very basic amenities of life.

Water, electricity, gas doesn’t reach them as they don’t  have the priority in the policy makers’ agenda who think big and lofty besides having a very haughty approach as they carry the burdens for the wellbeing of millions.

Prime Minister Imran Khan along with Dr Sania Nishter, head various programmes for the poor of the country but a question for both of these top notch thinkers of public welfare in Pakistan whether their thoughts encompass these ‘residents of land of the pure’.

These people in the picture have spent years and years on the place which is state owned land which will later be announced as some sector for Islamabad the beautiful. What comes next after the announcement is the relocation of these poor people who are likely to resist as their relocation will be done with force. An operation which is likely to involve tear gas, resistance and gun shots and this shanty town has families.

The track record of these operations have resulted in  injuries and fatalities and every resistance in federal capital have resulted in the death of the innocent who were killed by the police bullets though the report always state the ‘bullet came from unknown direction’.

It is high time the high handedness from authorities towards the poor should stop. The reports are always there and not long ago the ‘clerks’ were tear gassed on constitution avenue where they dared to ask a ‘pay raise’.

Government despite tall claims fails to understand that when the petrol price takes an upward swing everything takes an upward flight. Price control committees, cheap bazaars and officials raid don’t deter the shopkeeper who has to make money from the price hike in fuel prices.

Pakistan blessed with four seasons and has an agriculture base. It still imports agricultural products from the globe and the latest on the list not long ago was wheat and sugar which was hoarded by the cartels for making profits. The question for the policy makers what happened to the one that was in the stores millions of tons of wheat stay in the open and there is no strategy adopted to save it from waste. How much is wasted in the figure that is not given while how much is produced is still debatable.

The picture tells all about how serious the policymakers are for the nation. This shanty town is not an exception. The United Nation in its report says that 80 per cent of residents in ‘land of the pure Pakistan’ have no access to clean drinking water.

The two children are basking in the sun as life for them goes on as they have nothing to fear as there is nothing much that is going to change for them in coming decades. Life for them starts and ends in these shanty towns and not many survive to cross the age of 10.