Representatives of civil society member organizations; of the Pakistan National Committee of IUCN – The World Conservation Union have affirmed their complete solidarity with “Shehri”, a fellow member; organization of IUCN with reference to its principled stand in the public interest on the attempt to convert the amenity plot known as Kidney Hill Park in Karachi into a housing and commercial scheme.
At a recent meeting of the PNC held in Lahore on 22nd March, 2007, a representative of “Shehri” briefed members on the historical background to the Kidney Hill case and provided details about the present situation.
The “Shehri” representative said that, despite assurances of security and protection given to “Shehri” by the police and the Government of Sindh, the volunteer members of “Shehri” were receiving telephonic threats to their lives and were being harassed in different ways. He regretted that, as a result of presumably similar pressure applied to residents of the area who had originally joined with “Shehri” in filing a public interest petition in the Sindh High Court, the same residents have conveyed to the Court that they wish to withdraw the petition. Shehri has also withdrawn from the case, but the High Court has held that since it is public interest litigation, it cannot be withdrawn, and the High Court Bar Association and other concerned citizens will take the case forward.
Members of PNC-IUCN which represent a wide range of public interest civil society member organisations from all four provinces of Pakistan are actively engaged in different sectors of the environment and development. They unanimously condemned the threats to use violence against members of “Shehri”, who are only motivated by the desire to protect the public interest.
The Pakistan National Committee of IUCN resolved to address requests to the Governor of Sindh, the Chief Minister of Sindh and to the City Nazim of Karachi to ensure that the Kidney Hill Park remained an amenity plot as it was originally meant to be so that Karachi is not deprived of crucially needed open spaces for the public benefit. They have also requested the Governor, Chief Minister and Nazim to ensure security and safety for “Shehri” members and staff.
The meeting of the Committee was presided over by Javed Jabbar, Chairman of the National Committee and Global Vice-President, IUCN-The World Conservation Union.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of following nine member organizations out of 19 civil society member organizations:
1. Shirkat Gah (Punjab) Ms. Khawar Mumtaz,
2. Indus Earth (Sindh) Mr. Shahid Khan
3. SPO (Punjab) Mr. Bilal Naqeeb
4. Shirkat Gah (Punjab) Ms. Meher M. Noshirwani
5. WWF (Punjab) Mr. Rizwan Mahmmod
6. Pakistan Environment Protection Foundation (NWFP) Mr. Shahn Nawaz Khan
7. SUNGI Foundation (Islamabad) Mr. Amjad Nazeer
8. Shirkat Gah (Punjab) Ms. Zubeda Birwani
9. Sarhad Rural Support Programme (NWFP) Mr. Abdul Rehman
10. Khwendo Kor (NWFP) Ms. Aneela Qamar
11. Shehri-CBE (Sindh) Sheikh Rizwan Abdullah
12. Baanhn Beli (Sindh) Mr. Javed Jabbar