Poor families living in around 1,800 villages on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, are facing eviction from their homes by the authorities. The cost of land is rising and, as the population of Karachi grows, the city is growing outwards into these areas. Families living in these villages only have traditional rights and do not have title deeds. The authorities are taking advantage of this and evicting poor families, sub-dividing the land and selling it off to buyers. About 65,000 plots are made available every year in this process, in which government officials, politicians and police officers are all complicit.
To address such exploitation, we are working with our partner in Pakistan, the Orangi Pilot Project, to help communities work together and with supportive government officials to safeguard their settlements and advocate for alternatives to evictions. A number of villages are now lobbying for the acquisition of title deeds, with recent success in the village of Zobu.
In Zobu, over 1,500 families have been repeatedly evicted from their homes and had their homes demolished. We are now supporting poor families in this village to rebuild their homes, as well as supporting people in other communities to work together to address the growing threat of eviction through the coordination of meetings, research and advocacy efforts.
The first phase of this project supported 22 families to build permanent houses in Zobu, through a 'revolving fund'. We are now supporting a new phase with the support of the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, helping a further 30 families to rebuild their homes and 17,500 people to obtain land tenure.