The project has met opposition from a broad spectrum of Pakistani society, from the affected communities and families themselves to NGOs, other civil society rganizations, a good part of the mass media, academics, and political parties. The justness of their cause has even been recognized by Pakistani ourts, such as the Sindh High Court. Their opposition has elicited wide support from international civil society organizations.
This project is extremely controversial and has met broad opposition in Pakistan and abroad ranging from the affected families and communities, civil society organizations, professionals, the mass media, academics and political parties to international civil society organizations.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing wrote in July 2002 to President Musharaff to express deep concern about the project and the forced evictions that it has caused.
Moreover, as project funder KDF must observe closely the Comprehensive Human Rights Guidelines on Development-based Displacements convened 11-13 June 1997 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It says in nos.8 and 16 respectively:
“States should ensure that international organizations in which they are represented refrain from sponsoring or implementing any project, programme or policy which may involve the carrying out of forced evictions not in full conformity with international law and the present Guidelines.” ” States should fully explore all possible alternatives to any act involving forced eviction. In this regard, all affected persons.. shall have the right to all relevant information and the right to full participation and consultation throughout the entire process and to propose any alternatives.”
The Kuwait Development Fund is presumed to recognize and embrace the principles governing ODAs as generally observed by European, American, Asian and other Arabic organizations, such as people’s participation, adequate compensation and resettlement, human rights, environmental protection, good governance and transparency.
In 2003 the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights conducted a fact finding mission to the said project and found numerous violations of the human right of the affected families, including the right to adequate housing. A copy of the mission’s statement on the Lyari project was sent to you by Eviction Watch of ACHR.
Many opposition politicians have likewise raised questions concerning corruption related to the said project.
In October 2003 the Sindh High Court ordered the Pakistan government to review the project and to look into alternatives that will minimize the number of evictions and demolitions, the destruction to the environment and the negative impacts on Karachi as well as bring down the cost of the project.
The latest information about the Lyari Expressway Project in Karachi, Pakistan is that its funding is coming from the Kuwait Development Fund. Affected by the said project are the homes of some 25,000 families. Already nearly 5,000 families have been evicted. Thousands of shops, schools, clinics, mosques and churches have been demolished. Not all evictees were relocated and the minority who were, were inadequately resettled in a very inadequate site.
It is important that the Kuwait Development Fund observe international human rights law, in particular the right to adequate housing and the right to development as enuntiated by the UN. One way we can do this is to send letters, as many as possible, to KDF.
Source: Eviction Watch, ACHR