Islamabad - The year 2018 has knocked and 2017 is now the talk of the past.

However, the polluted, wreckage-type slums spreading throughout the magnificent capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, are still ignorant ones. Despite decades and change of governments, no big change in lifestyle of city slums has been spotted as the residents are forced to survive carrying lot of inhuman issues and problems. It is unfortunate that residents of ‘kachi abadis’ in Islamabad are neither facilitated by the federal and local governments nor the latter want to do so.

In the city ruled by elites and top government officials, the dark and contaminated slums still await salvation despite passage of years. These slums have same problems and issues that existed at the time of partition as majority of their residents belong to the poor Christian minority.

The conditions for living in these slums are so poor that it is a big challenge to live there and to survive in this costly luxurious city. Not only Christians but Muslims also reside in kachi abadis across the city. Most of the residents are from low-salaried class and sanitation workers. Majority of the females from these slums use to work as house maids or servants. The drugs and lack of education are the major problems faced by the community in slums.

Chaudhary James, 58, a gray-hair political activist of Christian community in G-7 slum said, “Do you think the new sun of the New Year will bring any change in our life? Just forget it, we have same problems since generations and coming generations might face them too; people in posh residencies around these slums celebrated the New Year but there is nothing very special for us in it”.

In desperate and shivering voice, having right eyebrow up, James said that they might continue facing issues like drainage water with no shelters, no housing schemes, no community centres and no schools in their slums in the future as well.

“We have been in this kachi abadi since years, however; the government never tried to facilitate us or people around us,” He added.Rather, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) uses tactics to displace us from our shelters despite the fact that we are living here before the Islamabad was entitled as the capital of Pakistan, James continued.

The local politicians and parliamentarians use to make lot of promises near elections but always forget their commitments regarding these slums after assuming power, James pour a big puff of smoke out of his mouth and left.

Regarding slow progress or halted development into these kachi abadis, Advocate Hassan Javed pointed out, “According to the Constitution, it is responsibility of the state to provide shelter and basic necessities to every citizen, as Clause 38-D of Article 9 of the Constitution ensures right to life and social and economic wellbeing of people without discrimination of colour, caste or religions.”

Slums in Islamabad, Javed lamented, enjoy no proper shelter, education, health and other basic necessities from the state, facilities which are basic right of every citizen. Despite decades, the governments failed to provide this basic right to these unfortunate residents, he added.

As majority of these slums have been established in incidental open spaces on the banks of various rain channels, the monsoon always brings destruction for the residents. During the monsoon season, the rain channels use to flow at peak, sometimes having low floods, and the residents of slums at that time could be observed ousting rainy water out of their homes or huts. 

Unlike rest of Islamabad, the naked electricity wires could be observed hanging all around these slums whereas shortage of gas and drinking water also makes it hard for the residents to live during the shinny summers of Islamabad.

Nadeem, resident of kachi abadi in G-6 Sector, stated that “most of the slums were near sewerage nullahs, having no facilities, which make it difficult for us to live here”.

Working as a low-salaried government employee since 20 years, Nadeem revealed that his three children were school going kids. Often unbearable sewerage smell force us to cover our noses but we cannot move anywhere else, he lamented.

“We know the unhygienic environment is not suitable for living and we do not appreciate this hostile environment but we have to live here, might be forever as we cannot afford sky-scraping house rents.” Nadeem looked a little disappointed. To a question, he was of the view that the government did not want to see them. The authorities concerned think that we have encroached government land, but it is because they do not want to accommodate us any many like us.

The year 2017 is now the echo from the past but the problems in these slums are same and existed at end of every year; the change in the calendar never affected the ground situation.

A social activists and worker, Asim Sajjad, filed a petition in the country’s top court recently against the forced displacement of slum residents.

Asim, when contacted, said that thousands of poor people were living in these areas in worst conditions, following which the Supreme Court must take notice of the situation. Recently, the top court ordered the government officials and department concerned to ensure provision of low-cost accommodations by launching new housing schemes for them.

However, none took it seriously, Sajjad said. The residents of these polluted and unhygienic slums in the luxurious capital of the nuclear power once again stressed the government for provision of basic facilities, especially government schools and healthcare centres in their colonies. They also stressed the government to regularise the slum areas.

–The writer is a correspondent for Waqt News and can be reached at