Empress Market

Encroachment Operation in Karachi’s

Breakdown of Empress market unlawful encroachments is in news nowadays. We can say that socially and politically it is a hot topic. Many people are criticizing the PTI government for the action it took against the residents who were living here for such a long time. Reasons are quite obvious but Government had to take action sooner or later, so we cannot say that what was done, was wrong totally. It might have some sort of negative impact upon the residents, but no doubt it will add to the long-lost beauty of that area. To understand the point of view we are trying to put forward we must look back at the history of that historical market

History of Empress Market

No doubt the British Raj when this market was founded, it was the golden time for it. At that time, it was in full bloom from all aspects of architecture and design. Empress Market was constructed between 1884 to 1889. In 1889 when it was inaugurated, hundreds of people purchased the shops in empress market and started their business.

Today, it is can be considered among the busiest and popular places meant for shopping in Karachi. All the products sold here are of huge variety. These items range from fruits and vegetables to textiles, stationery products and even the most loved one, “pets”.

Present Day Empress Market

Now in November 2018 during an Anti-encroachment operation construction around the empress market is declared illegal.

According to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Anti-Encroachment Senior Director Bashir Ahmed Siddiqui, “Empress Market would be restored to its original state in the next 15 days.”

So, according to the declaration of illegal construction all the shops removed with heavy machinery including bird market, cloths market and dried fruit market without providing the alternate to shopkeepers. Approximately, 1043 shops were demolished to during the operation and also declared the Esurance operation of KMC and police to assure that the encroachment does not return.

The number of families was disturbed financially for the sake of restoration of Karachi to its natural. Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar aimed to build parks on the land to restore natural beauty.

Despite all the above facts and figures, many people are asking on social media whether it was an economic genocide or not? The answer to that question is quite interesting and can be covered as follows:

Was it an Economic Genocide?

For the answer to that question we met many residents of that area and interviewed them for the latest changes brought by the government. Well, many of them had to use harsh words which we think was due to the reason that they had lost their belongings and property in such a sudden way. Rehman (name has been changed due to reserved reasons) had a small general store at the busiest area of the market. He was, in fact, paying the rent of his shop directly to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) for a long time. He was very much satisfied with the Government’s point of view, he told us that no doubt this operation has deprived most of the shopkeepers of their goods as they had very little time to pack their goods. He also exclaimed that it was not a bad operation, it was good in many senses, now the market will be renewed and its gloomy days would return with much more financial benefits.

It was only one positive point of view of a single shopkeeper if we think from that brighter perspective, this anti-encroachment operation was in the good of Karachi and its inhabitants.


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