Islamabad - The teams of the Enforcement Directorate of Capital Development Authority (CDA) aided by heavy contingents of the law enforcing agencies on Thursday razed part of the biggest slum in sector I-11 of the federal capital despite resistance, leaving the dwellers with little idea about their next destination.

It was unexpected and unpleasant for the mentally-unprepared dwellers of the illegal settlement when the CDA staff started what until Wednesday was considered to be a herculean task. The illegal occupants offered intermittent resistance. Whenever the bulldozers and dozers started emitting thick smoke from their silencers, the youngsters standing at roof tops of the mud houses started pelting stones at the law enforcing personnel, pushing them back. Some women also came out to protest on the roofs of their houses with the Holy Quran in their hands, saying they would not back down and let the administration bulldoze their homes. But the authorities did not succumb to the ‘human’ pressure. The battle of nerves continued until noon when the police personnel pushed the protesters deep inside the settlement by firing tear gas shells and using water gun, and the enforcement staff then started leveling the mud houses. It was then the dwellers believed that the operation was no way going to halt. As the protesters started losing guts, the CAD started gaining ground. The rest of the day was bit peaceful with almost zero resistance from the dwellers. The confidence of the dwellers could be gauged from the fact that they did not bother to shift their household items to some other place despite repeated warnings from the authorities to vacate the houses. It was after the operation that they started combing the rubble to pick their belongings. However, as the CDA machinery moved further into the settlement, it served as a caution for the rest of the dwellers that the operation would continue till he last house is razed, and they started shifting their household items in advance. A woman sitting on what she could collect from the rubble after the operation told this scribe that she belonged to Kabul, Afghanistan. She did not tell her name despite repeated requests. She was worried that her household items were destroyed in the operation. She had little idea about her family’s next destination.

Another dweller, Farhad Khan who belonged to Mohmand Agency told this scribe that they were not expecting the operation. Laden with a few house items he could collect from the rubble, he pushed his wheelbarrow forward and said the day has brought miseries for them. “We have no other shelter for the time being,” he said.

A few personnel of the law enforcing agencies and officials of the local administration received minor injuries during the course of action and they were immediately shifted to the PIMS hospital. Those injured include Captain ® Ali Asghar Assistant Commissioner ICT,8 police officials including DSP Idrees, Umer Hayat SI, Ali Asghar, Fayyaz, Basharat, Jehanzeb, and a lady constable Rehana Kosar. CDA officials who got injuries include Ibrar, Amir Jan, Abdul Majeed, Nadeem, Khalid and Farman. Meanwhile, Sabzi Mandi police have registered cases against around 2000 persons under anti-terrorism Act for resisting the operation. Over 70 persons were arrested from the site while different teams have been constituted to arrest the remaining accused, said the police sources.

A police officer present on the site said that the authorities even on Thursday morning had offered the dwellers to voluntarily demolish few of the houses and that they would be given time to shift their household items but they started pelting at the law enforcing agencies’ personnel which, he added, compelled the administration to think otherwise.

The police officer who wished not to be named, believed that majority of the young protesters were from the bordering areas of Rawalpindi as Dhok Hassu and Dhok Najju, also the stronghold of Awami National Party (ANP).

He was of the view that ANP tried to give ethnic colour to the whole issue. The police also impounded cattle of the dwellers. The Islamabad administration had taken the help of police and Rangers to move forward with the planned operation to demolish the houses.

The Islamabad High Court had ordered CDA to demolish illegal slums in the federal capital.

On the first day of the operation, the CDA reclaimed around 1/5th of the total land illegally occupied by the families, majority of them were from Mohmand Agency and other parts of KP. The operation will continue today (Friday) and keeping with the pace, it will take around one week time to clear the whole area. The CDA claims that the area had been illegally occupied in 2005.

The city administration said it had sent them several notices and given them ample time to vacate the land before initiating the operation.