Sunday, August 22, 2010

Land Mafias in Karachi thank God for the Floods in Pakistan

The floods that have been devastating for millions in Pakistan have delighted some people too – the land mafias.

Since, I live in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, one of the four provinces of Pakistan, I am getting to hear and even witnessing cases where land mafias are grabbing vacant property strategically.

The situation is that people from the flood-struck rural parts of Sindh are migrating to non flood-struck areas. Karachi, specifically has received probably the most number of such migrants. Now, those migrants who are still in search of residences are being used by land mafias. By land mafias, I mean people who have the experience of unrightfully grabbing/seizing other people’s property – apartments, bungalows, land plots, etc – and are backed by some kind of political power. Such mafias are simply breaking into vacant houses and inviting flood migrants to stay in them, pretending that the house is theirs or of some one they know. Such incidents are happening specifically in housing projects where a large number of apartments/ bungalows are vacant.

Yesterday only, a family friend’s vacant apartment got grabbed. When he went to check it like he did once or twice a week he found it was locked from inside!!! When he knocked, he discovered two women inside who, when hushed out, left immediately only slip into another apartment on the same floor which apparently too was being used these by migrants. Later on, they found out that 22 vacant apartments of the very same flat have been broken into. It was very easy to do so because most of the houses in that project are vacant and there is no union council which could have kept a check on what is going on and could have prevented this from happening.

Even in the presence of such unions, land mafias do grab property either because the union isn’t resource-able enough in terms of political contacts to drive the land grabbers away or because of their lack of motivation to do so – meaning that, the property owner isn’t offering them any monetary incentive to help him/her vacate the house. However, if the union is motivated to help and has political backing, it can make things difficult for the land grabber. But again, intrinsic motivation and political backing are very hard to find together!


  1. I've been a victim of land mafia in karachi and i can believe it but their creativity is amazing

  2. LANDMAFIA … huh … serious they r kind of termite…. They are everywhere in Karachi… that’s why robberies and mobile/money snitching are increased.

    Remember friends … no fortune is expected in this freaking government … exactly they are supporters for this LANDMAFIA…

    2ndly if you people noticed, some of our roots are in their custody like, BUS system, Rikshaws, Parkings’, Food supply, Water tanks, Cable system etc ….

    Btw which area u talking about the grabbed apartments???