A video has gone viral on social media showing Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) workers harassing street vendors as part of an anti-encroachment drive. As per the video, the officials throw away the goods on carts and make the sellers run away. In the process, they also hurt a child who is selling the stuff on a cart, sparking the ire of social media users. Many have aggressively condemned this behaviour by so-called officials as it appears to be humiliating. They tried to bring this to the local government’s attention and asked them what was going on under their watch.
Why Street Vendors Are Problem for Development Authorities?
Street vendors are not only specific to Pakistan; they exist in several parts of the world. An informal economy such as street vending provides livelihood, food, and shelter to the underprivileged segment of society. Whereas brands, malls, and big superstores only cater to the elite segment. There was a time when the voice of a peddler was the thing Pakistan heard in the morning. as per a study by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) the peddlers somehow “threatened” elites. The interests of the elite then forced the development authorities of the cities to wipe out all hawkers from the posh residential areas.
The street vendors may have faced such behaviour for selling the stuff in an area that was not a designated place, but that doesn’t mean they deserve humiliation and loss of livelihood. A better way to deal with such issues can be to plan the cities in a way that they accomodate these sellers.
Beating Little Children for What?
In the video, one person pushed a little kid trying to save his cart. However, the heartlessness took over, and the PDA worker destroyed his cart and pushed him away, causing him to cry. People who watched the video spoke in solidarity with the street vendors who lost their livelihoods at the hands of authorities. Their language was harsh while condemning the government for letting this happen instead of helping the poor and underprivileged people. The development authorities are more concerned with making the cities “beautiful” while the actual ugliness is in their actions for the benefit of the elite. Wiping out the street vending options can prove detrimental to the survival of the underprivileged. The video only showed one kid who suffered this humiliation and loss of livelihood; there could have been more such workers to face the ruthless behaviour of authorities.
@mohrpakistan @PakPMO @ImranKhanPTI @ShireenMazari1 @asadowaisi Why so much contempt against poor & working class people by the state? Big criminals like Musharraf, Nawaz, Zardari etc get away with major crimes but poor & working class people suffer for minor or even no mistakes.— Faisal (@SfslSyed) February 14, 2022
No Care for the Poor
Even if the elites were forcing the authorities to clear their area, users described many ways authorities could have helped street vendors. The government could have provided them with a viable space to peddle their goods. Folks also questioned if forcefully pushing them away solved anything or made matters worse. Just like the elite, poor people are also human and got mouths to feed. If the rich are so eager to exclude them from their lives then at least they could suggest a better alternative, as they also have a right to earn and live without worrying about food.
jao beta chor bano, kya sabzi bech rahey ho— Beenish Jamal (@JamalBeenish) February 14, 2022