Islamabad: Outcry from Christians and human rights activists over CDA’s discriminatory justification for slums demolition

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CDA

In the wake of CDA’s justification for the slums demolishing drive, the human rights activists and Christians protest against tearing down of these slums.

The Human rights activists have condemned CDA for its absurd justification for demolishing the slums. Capital Development Authority (CDA) had earlier claimed that these slums needed to be torn down as they might become the source of a change in Islamabad’s religious demography.

On Thursday, December 10, the Human rights activists slammed the capital’s authorities after CDA put forth written justification in the court maintaining that these slums are being razed because their growing Christian population would threaten the city’s Muslim majority.

The demolishing drive is not new, as in last year CDA had waged war against illegal settlements in the suburbs of the capital. CDA maintained that these slums are largely populated by Christians and Afghan refugees, and this makes them vulnerable to be sanctuary for militants. As a result of this drive hundreds were left homeless.

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Seeing the escalating situation, a petition against CDA’a drive was launched in the Apex Court, by the leftwing Awami Workers Party (AWP). Subsequently, Supreme Court asked CDA to present justification for demolishing these slums.

CDA submitted a written reply just last week, which has been met with sharp criticism for several reasons. In the reply CDA states: “It seems this pace of occupation of land by Christian community may increase… removal of katchi abadies is very urgent to provide better environment to the citizen of Islamabad and to protect the beauty of Islam.”

Soon after the CDA reply was publicized, a swift and sturdy response from the human rights activists, Christians and the civil society. Shamoon Gill- a Christian activist said, “It seems the Christians would now require passports to live in the capital.”

While speaking in this regard, Ammar Rashid from Awami Workers Party said that CDA’s move was “old-fashioned bigotry against minorities and working classes. The administrative body has no right to be making decisions about the religious demography of Islamabad.”

Farzana Bari- human rights activist said, “Action should be taken against whoever drafted the report. Most Christians in the city are sanitary workers. These poor Christians that the CDA is so scared of are their own employees who work very hard to keep the city clean.”