Poor Man’s Rights vs. Rich Man’s Rights!

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Bahria Icon Tower Karachi

Few months ago I received a call from Shehri a Community Based Organization, they informed me about a project that Bahria Town was building in the posh area of Karachi i.e. Bahria Icon Tower. You would be wondering what does an NGO has to do with a construction project and why do they are contacting another citizen who again has nothing to do with that project! The reason I was contacted was that they wanted to know my stance over this project! To me this is another beautiful project just like Dolmen Mall Hyperstar built on the seashore! What a beauty it is, but again it has nothing to do with me, I am a dweller of Federal. B Area and frankly speaking residents of Clifton and DHA, don’t even know that F.B Area exists (you can call this sentence one a biased and generalized comment but after all I am expressing my opinion this isn’t a news it’s a column). O.K coming back to the call I got from Shehri, I was asked about the legal issue that was raised in the wake of that construction project, I replied I don’t know anything about that, but I did got a bit curious.

The thing is the marvelous project that is Bahria Tower which includes the beautification and extension of Shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi (A good initiative) and the building of a new underpass had some legal issues. To be precise the legal issue was related to the underpass, it is found out Bahria Town, has skipped an standard operating procedure called, Environmental Impact Assessment (more info about it can be found at the site of Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency’s site). And this flyover, two underpasses one pedestrian subway and an underground parking space for the 68+ floored plaza called the Bahria Tower if completed will block the passage to Kothari Parade.

Now this is where the debate gets heated, on one hand there are people who believe that this underpass must be completed, it is their right, and the duty of the government to complete this project. Instead of the government, a private firm is doing this project, hence becoming a more responsible entity as compared to the government. On the other hand, there are people who are saying that this is gross violation of human and fundamental rights of the citizens of the city! The first group replies who cares if some old park gets blocked, we will get a brand new road, better traffic management. The reply from the second group is, that park which you don’t care about is a darling of the poor class, they come here to socialize, they literally can’t afford the McDonalds neither they can access the elite devil’s point’s lavish restaurants. Kothari Prade, Bin Qasim Park, these are the people where the middle class, lower middle class and lower class go for recreation, they don’t have private vehicles! They don’t shop at Hyperstar, they don’t dine at Charcoal, they don’t recreate at Golf Clubs!

And this where this class divide come in, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article one and two, all humans are born equal and they can’t be discriminated on the basis of race, gender, sect, religion or social class, but unfortunately we are bulldozing these very first and foremost human rights since our country came onto being. And today we have totally discarded the concept of social justice and equality! Today we are worried about the construction of multi-millionaire project, which will, off course provide residential facilities to the upper class, a new underpass for the residential of the tower and the poor, they can go recreate somewhere else, and who gives a damn about an old park? Right!

Regarding Malik Riaz, Sir I believe you can do much more for the society, please if possible, build some proper youth centers in every corner of the country, particularly in the remote, less-developed areas. Invest in the development of the masses, I am asking you, because you can, if you can build a road for the masses why not few hundreds compounds/centers for the youth? This way you can deliver better! Oh and do get that assessment done! Be a responsible Law Abiding Citizen!

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