The Edhi Foundation has appealed to the Sindh and federal governments to free the non-profit’s welfare centres in various parts of the province from illegal occupation of influential land grabbers.
Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday, the late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi’s family said that one of the centres was occupied in the Sindh-Balochistan border town of Hub, for which they sought the Balochistan government’s intervention.
Edhi’s wife Bilquis and son Faisal said the land mafia occupying the welfare centres enjoyed patronage of certain political parties, adding that shops and other commercial constructions were erected after razing the centres that had been serving humanity, especially the poor, for the past three decades.
Some of them have been locked up by these land grabbers, whose intention seems to be to convert these humanitarian centres into commercial hubs, lamented the Edhi family. They said lands for these welfare centres were allotted by the National Highway Authority (NHA), which had awarded the Edhi Foundation with the written authority to set them up at any point on 200-square-metre belts of land on both sides of the highways.
The last target of the land grabbers, they said, was the Edhi welfare centre in Thatta that had been successfully functioning since 1985 on the NHA land.
A teary-eyed Bilquis bemoaned that the land mafia was targeting the Edhi Foundation with the intent to destroy the organisation and that there seemed to be no one to stop them.
She feared that Edhi ambulances and the non-profit’s workers were without any shelter or safety. “These evil forces could damage the vehicles and harm the volunteers.”
The Edhi family listed all the parts of the province where the welfare centres have been illegally occupied: Latifabad town in the southern suburbs of Hyderabad city, Moro and Qazi Ahmed towns in Shaheed Benazirabad district, Sehwan city, Hala town, Larkana city and Hub Chowki in Balochistan’s Lasbela district.