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AWP Demands Strict Action Against Malik Riaz, Bahria Town Over Karachi Evictions

Malik-Riaz-Bahria-Town

Press release

The Awami Workers Party strongly condemned the ongoing land grab and violence against indigenous villagers in Kathore by Bahria Town Karachi and called for strict action against Malik Riaz, his hired hands and his accomplices within the state. They strongly denounced the shooting by Bahria’s hired goons against villagers of Kamal Khan Jhokia Goth and called for immediate prosecution of all responsible. They also condemned the visible collusion between Bahria Town and members of the Sindh police and government in the operation.

In a joint statement, the AWP leadership – Yousuf Mustikhan, (President), Akhtar Hussain (General secretary), Ismat Shahjahan (Deputy secretary), Akhundzada Haider Zaman (President-KP), Ammar Rashid (President-Punjab), Farhat Abbas (President, Seraiki-Waseb), Yousuf Kakar (President-Balochistan), Bakhshal Thalho (President-Sindh), Pervez Fateh (AWP-UK), Baba Jan (Chairman-AWPGB), Nisar Shah Advocate (Chairman-JKAWP) and federal committee members condemned the displacement of villagers in the areas surrounding Malir and said that the ongoing evictions was evidence of the anti-poor collusion between state authorities and real estate mafias like Bahria Town. The party announced full support for the Karachi Indigenous Rights Alliance’s decision to resist the evictions and build cross-party consensus around it.

They said that such violent enclosure of agricultural land by mega developers like Bahria Town was part of an ongoing process of state-endorsed displacement in the name of development taking place around the country. Thousands of farmers and villagers around the country were being displaced to make way for real estate profiteers, from Malir, Karachi to the Ravi riverbank in Lahore to the areas surrounding the Rawalpindi Ring Road. They said such violent processes of land grabbing that were both destructive for working people’s livelihoods as well as ecological sustainability needed to be stopped immediately. All mainstream capitalist parties from the ruling PTI to the PPP in power in Sindh were hand in glove when it came to land grabbing by Bahria Town and other mega developers for speculative profits.

They called for other progressive groups and parties to join the struggle and set a precedent against such violent evictions and empty anti-poor models of development. The AWP leaders said that instead of the state handing over land to private developers, the country needed a radical program of land redistribution and green where land was utilized for agricultural development, low-income housing and labor-intensive productive sectors rather than being used for speculative profiteering purposes.

The party leadership also stated that it took great pride in party workers like AWP Karachi Kisan secretary Hafeez Baloch who were at the forefront of the peaceful people’s struggle against forced displacement with the Karachi Indigenous Rights Alliance.

The AWP leadership also condemned the brutal ongoing eviction of communities along Gujjar Nala and Orangi Nala in Karachi, where the homes of thousands of working people were being brutally demolished through the collusion of KMC, Sindh government and federal institutions like NDMA and FWO. They said that despite hundreds of the affected households having KMC-issued leases for their homes, their homes were being crushed ruthlessly for a few thousand rupees without any rehabilitation or resettlement plans.

It was even worse that such events, which had forced hundreds of families into homelessness in the streets, were happening in Ramazan during the peak of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The AWP leadership said that the operation along Gujjar Nala and Orangi Nala needed to be stopped immediately as per Sindh High Court orders and those whose homes had already been demolished needed to be properly resettled and rehabilitated. They hailed the local leadership of AWP Karachi, including district secretary Khurram Ali and the Karachi Bachao Tehreek for standing with the communities facing eviction and providing them political and legal support.

The party leaders said that the AWP would continue to stand with working class communities facing displacement in Kathore, Gujjar Nala and all other places around the country and called on all leftist and progressive forces to form a common front for pro-poor rural and urban land reform in the country.

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