Saturday April 20, 2024

Mehmoodabad, Gujjar Nullah-affected families seek fair compensation as SC takes up contempt hearing today

By Our Correspondent
February 07, 2024

The next contempt of court hearing of the Gujjar Nullah, Orangi Nullah and Mehmoodabad Mutasireen has been fixed to be heard on Wednesday (today) at the Supreme Court Registry.

The Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — AFP/File
The Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — AFP/File 

The apex court has asked the Government of Sindh to give adequate compensation for the affectees of the Gujjar and Orangi Nullah Mutasireen and the Sindh Bachao Tehreek (SBT) pursued the case against the former chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in the first contempt of court hearing on August 17, 2023.

The SBT held a press conference in this regard on Tuesday. The SBT said that option one given by the government was lumpsum compensation according to the market value of the current land and its cost of construction and option two was land and funds for construction. Additionally, the court had ordered the release of the pending 3rd and 4th cheques to the affectees.

The government thereafter released the 3rd and 4th cheques in September. However, so far no alternative housing or any other form of compensation had been given to the victims of the brutal demolition drive.

The SBT conducted a survey and held a town hall consultation with the mutasireen asking them about their choice from the above-mentioned options. The majority of the effectees chose option 1, which is monetary compensation based on the current cost of the land of their house in central Karachi which was demolished plus the value of the cost of construction on it.

The government must consult the communities before deciding on the options they had given, therefore, land and funds for construction or lumpsum funds compensate victims for the cost of their current land and the cost of construction in their areas.

Affectees had been asking for fair compensation based on the prices of their current land and area as opposed to giving them in the outskirts of Karachi in Taiser Town as the government's reports indicate since the value of land there is lower than the the land where their houses were demolished. Furthermore, Taiser Town would increase the cost of travel to work, school and maintaining social ties, all of which would increase the cost of living in the far-flung Taiser Town and adversely impact the mutasireen. Housing justice called for fair and just forms of compensation commensurate with the destruction that each family had to endure.

The Supreme Court had given the choice of compensation to the mutasireen and their voices must be given precedence over any government decision that tries to reduce their rightful compensation for a fourth of the actual. Sindh Bachao Tehreek and Mutasireen of Gujjar and Orangi Nullahs demand a fair compensation with the full value of their current land, the presence of services, amenities and an area that is close to their original home.

Come and support the rights of mutasireen at the demonstration in front of the Supreme Court Registry in Karachi at 8:30 am on Wednesday, the 7th of February.