Pakistan’s Supreme Court has put the demolition of Christian slums in Islamabad on hold do to the anti-minority character of the proposed demolition. The Capital Development Authority sought to clear out the Christian slums because it threatened the “Muslim-majority character” of Pakistan’s capital city. The Supreme Court found this reasoning unacceptable and has put the planned demolition on hold. Christians, and other religious minorities, face intense discrimination and persecution in Pakistan. This often relegates these minorities to Pakistan’s lowest economic and social status.
12/14/2015 Pakistan (The Independent) – Plans to destroy a slum in Islamabad, which is largely occupied by Christians, have been postponed by the Supreme Court.
It comes after the Awami Workers Party (AWP) submitted a petition to the Court in August, challenging the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) plans to demolish the areas across the Pakistani capital.
In a press conference at the time, the AWP said, “In Islamabad, an immediate resettlement of all the former residents of the demolished I-11 katchi abadi [slum] and demanded that those who carried out the violent, brutal and unlawful operation in I-11 be brought to justice”.
The court issued the stay order against the plans last week and ordered the CDA, which has been targeting illegal slums in the capital since 2014, to justify its next planned demolition in writing.
The CDA’s reply read: “Most of these katchi abadies [slums] are under the occupation of the Christian community.”
“It seems this pace of occupation of land by Christian community may increase. Removal of katchi abadies is very urgent to provide [a]better environment to the citizen[s]of Islamabad and to protect the beauty of Islam.”
The response sparked outrage among activists.
Ammar Rashid, secretary of the Awami Workers Party, “The CDA’s reply is proof of the deeply prejudicial mindset that prevails in the CDA with regard to working classes and minorities, whom they regard with utter contempt.”
“This sort of anti-people, anti-minority authoritarian attitude has no place in the 21st century and needs to be relegated to the dustbin of dictatorial history that it emerged from.”
“Islamabad as the national capital belongs to all of Pakistan’s citizens, not bureaucrats of the CDA.”