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Pakistan: Fishermen fear new ‘city for the elite’ will end their way of life November 20,2020   |  Source: The Guardian

On the island of Bundal, off Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast, people gather in their thousands, as they have done for decades, to honour their saint, Baba Yousaf Shah. As the sun shines on the festivities around the shrine, colourful flags flutter energetically as the air fills with the vibrant clamour of music, singing and feasting. But this may be the last festival held by the fishermen here. Last month, the federal government issued an order, taking over the twin islands of Bundal and Buddo, locally known as Bhandar and Dingi, which form part of the Indus delta, where the river flows into the Arabian Sea in southern Sindh. The government plans to build a city to “surpass Dubai”, and attract investment of about $50bn (£37.5m), creating 150,000 jobs, claimed Sindh governor Imran Ismail at a news conference in Pakistan’s capital last month. Local people do not intend to go without a fight.

“We won’t leave our ancestral place, we have been living here over centuries,” says Mohammed Hasan Dabla, who organises the annual festival. Now aged 80, he has been fishing here since he was 12. “By occupying the island, the government not only snatched the livelihoods of fishermen but also a hope for living for them. The island and shrine give us a living, culture, and hope


© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)