Growing population pains
Karachi is big, it’s sprawling. The current population of 16 million will explode into a nasty figure of 27.5 million in 2020 and will double to 32 million by 2025; these facts were quoted by the Karachi Strategic Master Plan (KSMP) 2020.
These figures may baffle us with numbers, the 1998 census likes for us to believe that between one to two million aliens from Afghanistan and Srilanka, who inhabit the kutchi abaadis are no threat at all. Yet there are problems that are rampant. Accommodation is one of the biggest problems that this city government has to face. The living conditions are deplorable. Inadequate shelter, food and sanitation have concocted many diseases. What happens when kutchi abaadis spring up? They disrupt the infrastructure of a certain locality. What happens when you legalize foreigners, allocate plots/housing to remove the existing kutchi abaadis? More pop up.
It is very easy to feel sorry for the residents of such shanty towns, for they certainly have guts to reside in abject conditions. A case study of a particular woman who works as domestic help shows what sometimes does happen, when government is being fair. X, was a resident of Zia-ul -haq Colony, area that is currently Lyari Expressway. She lived in a house that was not hers. When Zia-ul-haq Colony was razed to build the great Expressway, she and other squatters, were allocated plots near Super Highway, and 50,000 rupees each, to build the houses. The other half of the story is predictable. A land mafia emerged, amongst their own kind, falsely occupied two to three plots each, some deserving people were rendered homeless and moved out into other kutchi abaadis, meanwhile a few rented their own homes and occupied the their previous status of squatting. This just goes on to prove that welcoming foreigners into this city is great, but at the cost of further deteriorating it’s mock infrastructure?