MR Kiyani Road was jam packed Friday morning as people affected by the encroachment drive in Karachi staged a protest and asked for justice.
“Humari jang, humara haq [Our fight is our right]” they chanted as they moved from one side of the road to the other and came to stand directly in front of the Supreme Court registry as the chief justice was arriving.
The protesters came from different corners of the city and spoke about their problems.
Some residents of Gulshan-e-Maymar spoke out against China cutting in their area. They said parks have been destroyed and petrol pumps built on them.
A person from Gulshan-e-Maymar said that their plots are being occupied by the land mafia since the 1950s. “I just want the chief justice to take notice of our problems too.”
Another group was staging a protest for the rights of 2,500 former employees of the Sindh government living in Gulshan-e-Mehran. They said that they were promised plots but they were never allotted to them.
‘Ghar ke badle ghar do warna kursi chorh do [Give us alternate houses or leave your seat],” chanted a group of protesters outside the Supreme Court’s entrance.
One of them said that his house was demolished in an anti-encroachment drive in Gharibabad. “I had invested all my savings in that plot and now the house has been demolished,” he told SAMAA Digital.
Another protester had come all the way from Tando Allahyar. He said that his land has been illegally occupied. “The high court ruled in our favour and assured us that our land will be handed over to us,” said Abdul Samad Khan. The police, however, are not helping us and supporting the political mafia, he claimed.
“We are a total of nine families.” Nothing has been done to help us despite court orders, Khan added.
The protesters continued their passionate speeches on the road but inside the court premises, their chants sounded like a distant cry. The protesters dispersed slowly once the court began hearing the Karachi encroachment case.
Encroachment drives are being carried out in different parts of the city after the Supreme Court ordered the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway and told the authorities to remove all structures from its tracks and stations.
Many people’s houses have been destroyed but they have yet to be provided with alternate space.