Capital news pic

Islamabad Kachi Abadies are becoming Petri dish for Corona virus

Abdullah Malik

ISLAMABAD: The novel pandemic coronavirus is hitting hard the world including Pakistan and on Thursday the national tally of the covid-19 patients hits 2,373 including 33 deaths and 62 confirmed cases reported in the federal capital Islamabad but thousands of residents of the Kachi Abadies are living under miserable condition having no proper cleanliness and hygienic approaches The Frontier Post learnt on a visit to one of the Kachi Abadi in Islamabad.

The F-6 Kachi Abadi is located in F-6/2 having more than 400 houses and a population of more than 10000 people but the government health watchdogs and capital administration didn’t visit the Kachi Abadies neither run a proper campaign the residents told The Frontier Post. The capital administration is busy in chemical sprays in different locations of Islamabad but no chemical spray were used in the Kachi Abadies to stop spreading of the wildfire coronavirus the residents added.

Saima a school teacher who is running a campaign on own resources added that the Kachi Abadi is located in posh sector of F-6 but both health watchdog and capital administration are not concentrating on Kachi Abadies which are more vulnerable to the crippling virus. She added that repeatedly we approached both to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and administration of Islamabad but no one listing to us.

Katchi abadis have existed in Islamabad for three to four decades.

Mostly populated by the city’s working classes, they are a direct consequence of unplanned growth, poverty, urban development needs, and displacement caused by conflict or natural disasters and, most importantly, due to the housing shortfall in the country, which is currently estimated at over 10 million units countrywide.

A local volunteer of Church was seen in streets announcing awareness messages on hand grip mega phone to the residents to restrict movements including to churches and mosques.

According to CDA figures, there are around 52 katchi abadis in Islamabad, out of which it recognises only 10. The population of these informal settlements exceeds 100,000.

The biggest demographic category among katchi abadis is Punjabi Christians who comprise roughly 35 per cent of the population living in informal settlements. Other Punjabi/Potohari groups are around 26 per cent, Pakhtuns are around 20 per cent, and Kashmiri/Hazaras around 10 per cent of the population respectively.

It should be noted, however, that these figures were compiled by the Akhtar Hameed Khan Resource Center about seven years ago. The vast majority of katchi abadi residents are labourers, sanitary workers, domestic workers, or lower-staff government servants.

Chand Alias a resident of the Kachi Abbadi running a small shop told The Frontier Post that people are poor having no proper jobs in government or private sector only associated with cleanliness market that’s why the community are more vulnerable to the covid but as well become a carrier of the virus because more than 2000 people are working in houses and offices and on roads. He added that the Kachi Abadi people can become a rich source of virus spreading in federal capital.

In Islamabad, katchi abadis first emerged when labour was required for the construction of the city in the 1960s. There were two main labour settlements at first, one in G-8/3 and the other in Muslim Colony near Bari Imam. Once the initial development needs subsided, in the mid-70s, CDA started to evict these settlements, resulting in resistance, particularly in the G-8. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafqat told The Frontier Post that soon he will arrange chemical sprays in the community to safeguard them from the virus.

Roshan Jan, 62 told The Frontier Post that she is living in the said Kachi Abadi since 40 years and the residents are living in despondent condition having no business or reputed jobs both in government or private sector. She added that she is praying that all human being despite from their religious affiliation should remain safe from the virus.

When contacted Syed Safdar Shah Spokesman of CDA regarding planning of CDA regarding precautionary measures in Kachi Abadi he responded that he conveyed the message to DG health of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).

Posted in