Mission and Purpose
The All-Pakistani Alliance for Katchi Abadis (APKAA) is an association of slum-dwellers from across Pakistan, formed in 2003, created to protect the rights of katchi abadi residents. The association self-identifies as a nationally-organized resistance to the arbitrary eviction and force homelessness of the urban poor, displaced persons and ethnic/religious minorities. It also advocates for affordable housing for low-income families. Its workers do consciousness-raising and provide social, political and legal education and facilitate peaceful mobilization for housing and land reform
Origins and Development
Due to the rise in post-conflict migration, unprecedented degree of economic growth and increase in poverty, informal living arrangments of more than 40 homes named katchi abadis are expanding in Pakistan's major cities. The settlements are homes to the most marginalized, economically and socially, members of Pakistani society from ethnic minorities to low-income families. The communities house mostly workers who provide critical labour to local economies but are undervalued, underpaid and denied basic rights to shelter, fair wages, water and education. The livelihoods of the residents is under constant arbitrary threat by state violence and evictions.
The National Housing Policy 2001 demands that existing katchi abadis be regularized and upgraded, the dwellers be granted ownership rights of the land they occupy and the Capital Development Authority provide basic services of water, electricity and gas. However, the CDA only recognizes 10 settlements as of yet and continues to ignore the no-eviction clause of the 2001 Housing Policy
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
Its activities are funded by donors and local supporters of the Awami Workers' Party.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
The association works with over 14 katchi abadis, with a population of over 150,000 in the nation's capital, Islamabad, in coalition with the Awami Workers' Party. The association works to: 1)consciousness/awareness raising, 2)organization, 3)facilitate communication and dialogue and 4)influence decision-making at local and national levels.
Major Projects and Events
According to their official Facebook Page, the APKAA is involved in the following activities:
1) Organize regular meetings,
organizes regular meetings, discussions and work sessions with groups of men and women in different abadis that focus on the following activities:
"a. Disseminating information about past and present government policies, actions and initiatives.
b. Dialogue about the economic, social and political power structures that exist in the country and beyond.
c. Raising awareness about the political and legal rights of the abadi residents, as slum-dwellers and citizens of Pakistan.
d. Outlining the need for peaceful social, political and community organization beyond religious, sectarian, ethnic and gender differences."
2) The organization also helps residents strenghten existing forms of community organization to contest illegal attempts of eviction by building a "sustainable organizational structure for the future defense of their rights and positioning of their lawful demands". APKAA works to create dialogue between abadi residents, civil society, students, academics and other social movements by creating spaces for discussion, joint-lobbying strategies and mobilization.
3)APKAA has a special commitment to strenghtening the abilities of youth and women's groups to use means of communication to express themselves and disseminate information such as wall painting, informative pamphlets and social media technologies.
4)The association seeks to influence government decision-making through protests, organized demonstrations and legal claims. Its current agenda involves organizing a rally on land rights in conversation with the Supreme Court's hearing on the Awami Workers' Party's petition' for a judicial review on previous rulings of land reform. This is a coalitional effort between katchi abadi residents of Islamabad and the landless farmers of Punjab.
The next few years for the organization will consist of entering local and provincial politics through the electoral system in hopes of amplifying voices that represent the needs of the Pakistan's poorest.