In this episode, Francesca Recchia is in conversation with Arif Hasan, an architect, urban historian and activist from Karachi.
Looking at the recent anti-encroachment drives that have targeted vulnerable communities the city, Hasan details how Karachi changed from a bustling multi-ethnic city after Independence to one blatantly favoring upper classes. He analyzes the impact of neoliberalism and private capital in determining an urban development based on project rather than plans as well as global interests that contribute to shaping the city. Hasan unpacks the intricate nexus of collaborations and complicities between government officials, private developers, politicians, the judiciary and the Military that is the main force behind current land policies. As the Police and the State respond to the protests and mobilizations against these policies with increasing violence, Hasan sees hope in nurturing spaces to meet, build coalitions and fighting back.
By Francesca Recchia
4 June 2021
Arif Hasan is a Pakistani architect and planner, activist, teacher, social researcher and writer. Among many other involvements, his work focuses on documenting Karachi’s history, its development issues and the process of social change in Pakistan.