The officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) took on the poorest of the poor living in Islamabad once again on Thursday. The CDA staff razed some one hundred and forty clay houses in a slum, which is absolutely devastating for so many families. How come no one in the team that executed this plan did not even for a moment give thought to what would happen to these poor people after the operation?

Nothing can be a more ironical sight than the videos of the CDA operation against these slums circulating on social media. On the one hand, the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is trying to make shelter homes for homeless people. And on the other, the CDA is making people homeless. Right now, when the economy is stagnant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDA operation against the poor people was a perfect mix of mismanagement and bad governance.

This operation was not the first one carried out against the people who live on the periphery of our societies. Nevertheless, the timing of the recent action against the abodes of the poor people shows that the most unprotected people are not protected adequately. Regardless of the legality of katchi abadis, this was not the right time to carry out an anti-encroachment drive.

Thankfully, the Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari ordered an inquiry against the action. However, the investigation will not be a solution to the longstanding issue of housing. Everyone knows that forced removal without relocation is always a problem. The government must deliberate on the topic from different perspectives. If clearing slums is a goal it is undoubtedly even more important to find residents alternative housing. But before anything else, the state must provide immediate relief to the bereaved families.