Land, Governance and the Gendered Politics of Displacement in Urban Pakistan
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In millennial Karachi, holding on to land and homes and accessing public space for labor, has become a vital struggle. Land displacement is an increasing, and sometimes constant, source of anxiety for the urban poor and marginalized communities, but some of the lower-to-middle income communities too. Based on 24-months of research (2018 - 2020) covering 16 study sites, we document how land is governed and acquired for infrastructure and urban development projects; how such projects impact people’s lives and how they resist displacement. Land displacements take place through different temporal contexts and generate complex, multiple effects of waiting, expectations, inertia and defeat. We consider multiple durations of land displacement: people living in fear of displacement; people displaced and resettled on Karachi’s rural-urban margins; and people relegated to an endless period of waiting for compensation and resettlement from the state.