A bloody forced eviction incident took place last October 3 in Karachi City two days after UN-Habitat and governments observed World Habitat Day. Police opened fire on the protesting residents, including many women and children. The demolition operation was carried out against the Jumma Goth, a centuries old village.
The way it was carried out was not unlike a military operation – catch the residents by surprise (hence no prior notice was given, no consultations were done), bring in the bulldozers and the armed policemen, including snipers perched in some buildings, no negotiations with the residents but shoot them when they ask questions.
This operation was ordered by the Karachi City government, which is run by the MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement). In May 2007 the same MQM government launched a bloody forced eviction campaign that destroyed thousands of houses. It violently repressed those who protested, killing one person and wounding several others.
This MQM used to invoke human rights when they were still not in power and regularly went to the United Nations to complain that their human rights were violated by the government of Pakistan at that time. Now they have blood in their hands from violating the rights of poor people.
This must be condemned. If this cannot happen in Karachi or Pakistan where they hold power in alliance with General Pervez Musharraf, then they should be made to account outside of Pakistan.
One way to do this is to write to the MQM, which has nice offices in London, New York, Chicago and Toronto to show our concern, it, not disgust over its actions. Perhaps we can flood their offices with hundreds or thousands of protest letters. Or better still, visit them.
Click on "eviction_3_october_karashi_sample_letter" to download the Sample letter you can use.
Click on "eviction_3_october_karashi_clippings" to read the news clippings about the incident.
In solidarity with the poor of Pakistan,