VC Faculty Lounge, Academic Block, LUMS
Abira Ashfaq

In Sindh, we are in the midst of witnessing elite capture of land and natural resources. In the last ten years, more than 100 gated communities have displaced farmers and herders from agricultural land in the outskirts of Karachi, and many settled communities have been forcibly evicted from urban centers. What does this destruction of green spaces and urban land grab mean for housing and climate justice? Who are the people most affected and are these impacts of evictions and displacements gendered? Is there space within a neo-liberal political economy to hold the state and its private partners, including international financial institutions (IFIs), accountable? Or would that simply preserve and legitimize an unjust system? What will resistance look like in a time of extreme housing and food insecurity and with climate disasters forcing loss of livelihood and migrations? How do we strengthen grassroots movements with radical legal challenges?

This talk grounded in the experiences of two grassroots movements called the Karachi Bachao Tehreek and the Sindh Indigenous Rights Alliance that have successfully challenged IFIS and have used courts, protest, and media to strengthen the struggles. The movements have persisted in ensuring that women lead the struggle or at least have their socio-political and economic marginalities recognized.