I’m still reading Instant City: Life and death in Karachi, the book I reviewed a little over a week ago.

It seems that Winston Smith from 1984 works for the Karachi city government. Author Steve Inskeep describes his investigation into the life of activist Nisar Baloch and the alleged encroachment, a common occurrence, on a public park, Gutter Baghicha.

Nevertheless the investigator did find houses under construction in several of the acres that were in dispute. Now it became a matter of dry law, or so it seemed. One of the simpler questions was whether the construction was inside the national park or outside of it.

A map of the national park from 2005 clearly included the land where construction had begun. A map from 2009 clearly excluded the land where construction had begun.

Curiously, both maps were produced by the Karachi city government, which seemed to have altered the shape of the national park to accommodate the new settlement. That was how the city managed to claim with a straight face that the settled was outside the park. When I compared the two maps with Google images of the national park under construction, it was clear that Shehri [a local environmental protection and advocacy group suing the city about this encroachment] was right: the park’s boundaries had moved. The 2005 design of he park could not possibly fit in the remaining land now designated for it.

You’ll have to read the book to know the end of the story (buy it on Amazon and Kindle), and the end of Nisar’s life. The map below shows the park in the center of the city.

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