Breached walls and collapsed houses: Isn’t it part of Islamabad?
By Abdul Rauf
The catastrophic monsoon has affected a large area of the country. The residents of Islamabad-the only planned city of the country, stayed safe, calm and collected except for those who were never a part of the planning. The considerable population living in the mud-houses in Sector I-11 could not coincide with the others living in the same city. Collapsed houses, breached walls and spoiled households are what picture that area these days.
“This city needs us but we are unwanted guests here. Being illegal residents we qualify for no facilities. Our mud-houses are our own efforts and savings. These poorly built structures are as week as we are in this society”, said Azeem Khan, a resident of the area.
Imran Aslam who was removing debris of a collapsed wall told INFN that he couldn’t go to work as he was worried about his kids, at the same time he was unable to do anything about it. He said,” I have been living here with my kids for last 6 years. Now I fear my room will collapse too just like the wall. What if my kids are inside at that time? I don’t have any relatives to send my kids to. I have no money or resources to mend it now.”
Most of these residents are labors or vendors who hardly earn their survival. They do not afford to build better houses. They are also not sure of their stay there as being illegal constructions their houses can be demolished anytime by the authorities.
“Fear is the only wealth that we are rich in. when it rains we fear that our houses would not sustain that, during winter we have nothing to keep our houses warm, we just wear the second hand clothes, during summer when the sun shines we fear that we may not be able to do much work to earn. We fear that we can be thrown out of this city of rich and above all we fear that our generation will go through these turmoil for centuries”, said Niaz Ali, 55 years old resident of the area.
One cannot foresee the centuries but at the moment a day is like years for the people who are sitting outside their ‘hideouts’ with their empty hands and eyes filled with tears. However some of them have managed to get out of it somehow.
Tanveer Khattak tells about the rebuilding efforts in these words, “Some of the people have shifted their kids to their relatives who have their huts at higher level and they have stayed safe. They go to work with no worry about kids, and they are rebuilding things bit by bit. People are also very helpful in terms of physical work but being poor no one is able to financially help others. We have asked our relatives for loan though we don’t expect they would risk their money”.
This is a planned city but it is planned to be a city of rich. There is no colony or living place for people like us. Didn’t planners know that laborers, vendors and other daily-wage workers would be needed as no city breathes without them?” he added.
No doubt Islamabad is a well planned city, but if there is any need of amendment in its planning, there is no harm in revisiting the plans. People are the most important part of every planning. There are ones who are deprived of the fruits of the planning, authorities must render the services to them too, after all they are the ones who make things easy for others-the privileged residents of the Islamabad.