Islamabad - As it is assumed by common Pakistanis that Islamabad is the city of bureaucrats, rulers and elites, people from different areas of the country due to its high cost of living think many times before moving to the federal capital for residence. The capital city is mainly famous for its state-of-the-art infrastructure, planned roads, lavish life style, luxury homes, spacious parks, high quality educational institutions, natural beauty and pleasant weather.
But within the limits of Islamabad, Sector G-12 is one of those places, which accommodate rich and poor alike. Due to its low living costs, the sector is popular among the poor working classes. Majority of the middle and lower middle class, pouring into the federal capital from almost all parts of the country for employment purposes, prefers to seek accommodation in this sector. One can get a single room quarter against a rent from Rs 2,000 to 3,000 per month.
As the posh area of G-11 Sector ends, a new world without paved roads, unplanned concrete buildings, congested quarters without toilets and sewerage system welcomes you, courtesy the Capital Development Authority (CDA), which claims to have turned the federal capital into a model city. The residents blame the civic authority for all this class-based discrimination. They said the CDA is taking revenge against us by not providing facilities in this sector because it was failed to acquire the disputed land from the occupants.
Most of the people, who are currently residing in this sector, have come from different parts of the country and they are mainly unskilled workers, taxi drivers, low cadre government officials, seminary students and domestic servants.
All of them arrived here to find some work in the capital with the hope of better future for their families.
Haleema Bibi is one of them, who along with her husband had come to the federal capital from Sargodha eight years ego in search of some petty work and now has six children. She lives in a single room quarter with her family and works in a house with her two daughters to meet her family’s financial needs. She told this scribe that each of them earns three thousands rupees per month which is a meager amount insufficient to run even her kitech as well as other requirements.
She said that the income of his husband and daughters make her capable to send all of her children to school and pay three thousands rupees for quarter rent.
She further said if the rent of houses in G-12 Sector were also equal to other sectors it would have been impossible to send her children to school.
A nomad from Khusab district of Punjab also resides in G-12 sector with his kin. He said that we pay one thousand rupees for one mudroom and was 10 families to live here.
He said before shifting our families to G-12 Sectors we were living at G-11 Sector at a nullaha bank but the CDA forced them to vacate the place. He said that one thousand rupees rent is affordable for them.
But some residents are desperate and unhappy even with these low rents. Baba Shera Messiah is one of them. He said that he came from Hafizabad with his five daughters, hoping his daughters would work in homes and life would become easy but he found no change.
He said that owing to inflation, he could not save even a single penny for her daughter’s marriage. He said that last month he had to pay four thousand rupees for electricity bill only for single room quarter.
According to a local resident, more than three hundred thousand people reside in G-12 Sector and unknown numbers of residential buildings and shops have been constructed. He said that G-12 Sector is a little Pakistan within Islamabad because Islamabad does not seem the city of Pakistan but of Europe.
Land for both sectors G-12 and F-12 were purchased by CDA in 1980s but due to failure in price adjustment most of the landowners did not accept the payment.
A number of times, CDA tried to clear the area but failed to acquire the lands from local residents.
A local resident said that now it was an uphill task for CDA to reacquire the land and demolish the constructed buildings because most of the land has been sold by locals to outsiders.