Scales for Justice

Working towards peace and reconciliation



Islamabad

Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan with a population of about 2 million and one of the most cosmopolitan and urbanized cities of Pakistan. Settlement in Islamabad, the new capital after Karachi, began in the 1960s. Being the seat of the Government of Pakistan, initially government servants and employees of the federal administration settled here. Since then, there has been a steady growth in the population of the city, which has swelled to somewhere in excess of a million inhabitants. At the moment, the capital city is the fastest growing urban settlement in the country, with workers from different parts from the country migrating from rural provinces in the seek of better facilities, job opportunities and a proper education for their children.

Migrants commonly settle in the city slums where they are considered squatters on government-owned land. At present about half a million people live in the slum areas of Islamabad. On average, 7 to 9 people share small, 2-roomed shanty houses. There are about 24 slums  established in Islamabad, with Christians being a majority. They ususally  hold the lowestest job levels, such as  construction workers and street  cleaners. Others provide domestic help for Islamabad’s well-heeled.

During our visit we stayed with the Amjad family, which is living in one of the Christian quaters of Islamabad, an area facing extreme poverty, insecurity and underdevlopment.  The visit was full of enriching but also burdening impressions. On the one side there was the amazing welcome and hospitality of friends, on the other side the shocking living conditions of the people, who despite all hardship never gave up hope.

In order to help those people living in the slums Adnan Amjad, together with his friend Fasal Nadeem, founded Mercy Trust, an NGO that aims at providing vocational trainings to the people living in the slums. Both of them have extensive experience in NGO work and have joined S4J as associate members in order to provide it with information on the situation on the ground. They are doing an outstanding work and more than deserve our support.

The visit included some sight seeing of the most beautiful sites and parcs of Islamabad, as well as a visit to the slums. Sightseeing including the blooming flower-shaped Pakistan monument located in the Shakarparian Hills  as well as the beautiful Lake View Park and the Margalla Hills, where monkeys are a special attraction for children and grown-ups alike.

Pakistani monument

The city

Faisal Nadeem and Adnan Amjad

Beautiful lake view parc

Lake view parc

Margalla Hills

Tourist attraction monkeys

With friends

Especially the visit to the slums left a lasting impression, full of contrasting imges. On one hand there was the abject poverty and desperation of the people, on the other hand however the hope and courage those people radiated despite all hardship. Below an informational video of the situation.

The testimony of one elderly women was especially powerful, who told the group the story of her life. She married young but lost her husband early and had to bring up her children all by herself. The family's meager income came from selling chickens on the market. As it is the case for many families, all members are living in a shack that contains one single room, serving as bed room, living room and kitchen at the same time. The water is stored outside in a rain barrel. The house is at high a risk of demolition, as the entire slum is built on land that belongs to the state and is not owned by the people living there. Nevertheless this woman beamed with joy and kindness, saying that whatever hardship she was facing God had never let her alone and provided for her needs.


Women in the slums

Children without future

Child worker

In memory of Shahbaz Bhatti

Water scarcity

Radiating hope

The way to go

For these people ...

What can you do? 

Minorities living in Pakistan need our support, on a practical as well as on a moral level.

  • Use social platforms like Facebook and get in touch with the people
  • Talk to them and show them they are not alone in their struggle
  • Share their concerns using social platforms
  • Support social programs such as Mercy Trust
  • Raise your voice against discrimination
  • Stand up for human rights defenders 
  • Go and visit ...