KARACHI: Residents of an upscale locality in Pakistan's southern port city have called a protest against the the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) over its failure to provide them basic amenities following the destruction wreaked by the torrential August rains.
As heavy monsoon showers left most of the DHA's areas flooded and without power for over three days, angry residents announced they would protest against the housing authority later this week — Thursday, September 3 — at 12.30pm outside its Phase 1 office.
"We wish to register our legitimate right to get the supply of basic amenities of potable water, stable electricity, effective discharge and flow of drains and sewerage, elimination of hanging electricity wires & data cables, fixing of broken poles, providing of security [as well as] repair & re-carpeting of broken roads," read a statement from the citizens.
A list of 22 demands have been put forward by the residents of DHA, which includes the return of tax money taken from them under the "Development Charges" head.
The residents said they also wanted contractors and decision-makers held accountable for constructing "useless stormwater drains".
The upset residents have also demanded an audit report of the DHA be made public so that it could be known how the taxpayers' money was being spent.
They further called on the authority to remove charges and fees on "every kind of activity, approval and transaction inside our own homes".
Following is a list of 22 demands that the aggrieved residents said they will put forward in front of the DHA during their protest on September 3:
- Return the taxes taken from Residents in the form of Development Charges for "stormwater drains" project worth billions which failed completely
- Accountability of the contractors and decision-makers for these useless Storm Water Drains
- Immediate removal of these cement slabs in the middle of the roads with holes in them
- Removal of "charges" and "fees" on every kind of activity, approval and transaction inside our own homes
- Installation of sewage treatment plant immediately
- Stop the pollution from 150 million gallons of untreated effluent from DHA to be dumped directly into the sea
- Sharing of 10 years audit report so residents know how their tax money is being spent
- Stop reclaiming land from the sea for more housing without an infrastructure plan. This will increase further drainage/ sanitation problems
- Stop renting out empty plots for the storage of animals
- Separate area of storing of animals
- Designated Slaughterhouses
- New international standards drainage system to be installed immediately
- Immediate repair of broken sewerage lines and roads
- Hanging cables and telephone wires to go underground immediately
- All electricity poles to be earthed and every pole be issued safety certificate by DHA. Saving lives is a joint responsibility. All lives matter
- KESC statements to be taken seriously by DHA. "Non-KE wires on power distribution infrastructure, such as streetlights or TV, telephone or internet cables, are a major safety hazard, as they damage KE’s infrastructure and bypass safety protection mechanisms."
- Beggars removed from every street signal
- All empty plots to be garbage-free (empty plots are the responsibility of DHA)
- No more paying for water. Remove the Tanker Mafia immediately. If hydrants can have unlimited water supply why can't our houses?
- No construction on our beaches. Spend our money on our drainage system
- Make a proper system of debris removal and construction material spillover on our roads.
- All craters in roads due to rains to be attended immediately so as not to lead to more loss of life 22. Roads dug up for various utilities and left uncarpeted to warrant heavy fines to the contractors
- Stop bringing in officials from around the country to head key positions in DHA and CBC. Locals of the city to be appointed only
As the sixth spell of monsoon rain lashed Karachi on Thursday, several areas of the city, notably the DHA, were flooded.
Video clips on social media showed how several houses were flooded with rainwater as the area's stormwater drains failed to ensure water did not accumulate on the roads.
Most parts of DHA remained without power for more than two days, leading to angry protesters gathering at Do Talwar on Saturday night and chanting slogans against the DHA and other authorities for the poor infrastructure exposed by the rain and incessant power outages triggered by the heavy showers.