Flood victims evicted amid protests, suicide attempts

Flood victims evicted amid protests, suicide attempts

KARACHI: The forceful eviction of the 2010 flood victims from Labour Square building in Gulshan-e-Maymar area sparked protests against Sindh government on Sunday.

A man tried to commit suicide against eviction while jumping from the roof of the four-storey Labour Square building and a woman attempted to set herself on fire, however, the other protesters stopped her from the suicide attempt.

Earlier on Sunday, District Administration, Anti-Encroachment Cell officials and heavy contingent of police led by Anti-Encroachment Force (AEF) Nawaz Sohu reached the Labour Square building and asked the residents of 1000 flats of Labour Square building to evict their home immediately.

On hearing the orders, the occupants got furious and strongly protested against the evacuation.

"These 1000 families living inside the building are from different districts of northern Sindh, which were submerged during 2010 floods, which destroyed everything and despite announcement Sindh government has not rehabilitated these victims even after six years," said Akram Khoso, a resident of the building. He alleged that the secretary Labour Department wants to sale the building for which he wants to evacuate the building.

Labour Square is a multi-storey building comprises 1,000 two bedroom, one lounge units. Landless peasants who hailed form the northern Sindh districts, around 500 to 700km from Karachi, had occupied these apartments.

The residential complex was lying vacant for many years due to government negligence when it was occupied by agricultural labourers.

Just a kilometer away from country's busiest road, the Super Highway, which carries cargo and public transport from the port city to up country, the huge Labour Square building was constructed for industrial labourers by the government.

"But when agriculture labourers started living in the building, PPP-led Sindh government declared that we are living here illegally, which is surprising," said Javed Ahmed, another resident of the building.

He said that the residents are the victims of a natural disaster and instead of helping and rehabilitating them; government is creating problems for them. He demanded Sindh government to allot the houses to the flood victims.

In a statement issued by CM House stated that out of 1000 labour flats, the Anti-Encroachment Force (AEF) has vacated 800 flats at Gulshan-i-Maymar through a 'peaceful' operation. Anti-Encroachment Force of Board of Revenue submitted a report to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

"The 1000 labour flats at Gulshan-i-Maymar were illegally occupied some people in the name of flood affected families of 2010 floods. As a matter of fact, the government had provided all the facilities, funds and other benefits to the flood affected people," the report stated, adding that still 200 flats are in the occupation of labourer for which another operation would be conducted shortly.