Department Details


The impact of urbanization and urban growth on land has been severe. The government is unable to provide land for the poor and migrants. This reality has led to a large scale proliferation of squatter settlements or Katchi Abadis. People get piece of land from the land grabbers at an affordable price. Mostly the land belongs to the Board of Revenue. Government officials and the police are involve in this process of illegal sub-division. Katchi Abadi is officially a temporary settlement where legal leases cannot be issued.

However the official temporary nature of these settlements may be perceived quite differently by the occupants as the defecto security level of the settlement is usually much higher. The security level has also been increased with periodic announcements by different governments for regularizing Katchi Abadis creating one cut-off date following by another.

Under the policy Katchi Abadis existing upto 23 March 1985 and comprising at least 40 houses will be identified for regularization. Despite the strong worded Material Law Ordinances being in place regarding the removal of any further encroachments new Katchi Abadis do form in anticipation of similar announcements by the government in future and subsequent shifting of the cut-off date for new abadis.

Another reason for the perceived security is that when people construct their houses and acquire few services then any move to demolish these structures is met by stiff resistance as people protect their investments. Usually when people receive a notice to vacate the land from the concerned government agency through their Community Based Organisation (CBO) obtain a stay order from the court of law. This CBO in many cases is formed by the land grabber himself who in turn obtain protection from politicians and/ or key persons in the administration. For taking stay order form the court people through their lawyers had made use of the policies Acts regulations and Orders that have been promulgated at times.

Until the late seventies low-income housing policies in Karachi were based on clearance of Katchi abadis and resettlement of the residents. All the resettlement schemes failed to reach the target group due to variety of reasons. In the early seventies a change of policy came about. This policy was to legalize and improve these settlements rather than to demolish them. There were four basic features of this policy

1. Security of tenure for the residents was provided through the issue of 99 years leases for which the resident had to pay a lump sum amount. The lease rate were differentiated per land use category (residential / commercial) and according to plot size (the larger the plot the higher the lease rate per square yards).

2. KMC carried out a programme of environmental upgrading (watersupply drainage sewerage and solid waste disposal systems and metalling of roads). Planning standards where flexible in relation to local circumstances and incremental no solution was fixed; rather the opportunity for future development was being guaranteed.

3. The whole programme was be self-financing; improvement had to be financed out of revenues from lease and improvement charges.

4. In the whole process peoples participation was crucial not only because the residents had to pay for the improvements also because planning (e.g. of standards) cannot be done properly without the residents involvement. Finally on plot improvements were completely left up to the inhabitants.

Regularised Katchi Abadi is one which has been approved by the government agencies for proper leasing and carrying out physical improvements to certain acceptable minimum standards. It then forms an officially accepted part of the city master plan.

In 1978 Martial Law Order (MLO) no. 67 was issued called ‘Regularisation and Development of Katchi Abadis’. It was reconstituted in 1979 (MLO 110) refer page 5 of this report and again in 1982 (MLO 183) and complemented by the Sindh Katchi Abadi Rules of 1982 refer page 1 article 3(4). Basic in these orders is that ‘the Government may…… declare an area …… to be a Katchi abadi and the Katchi abadi so declared shall …… be regularised and developed in accordance with the provisions of this order’. This order further states refer page no. 2 article 7(1) (1) (a) that regularization scheme shall inter-alia provide for ‘the rehabilitation of the unauthorized occupants of a Katchi Abadi in the same Katchi Abadi or where it is not possible in any other locality by allotting plots of prescribed size’.




Office: (021)
Res: 021-
Cell: 0322-2040210
Office Address: KMC Head Office



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