From 16th century to till 1947, Karachi was said to be the most modern and developed city in the Sub-continent. Keeping in view the importance of this city, the British captured this town and Sindh province in February 1843 and after that constructed government buildings, bridges, parks, roads and many more public interest assets.
The British Rule connected city with a network of railway lines to the rest of India and constructed some architectural masterpiece buildings like St Patrick’s Cathedral Church (1845), Frere Hall (1865), Flagstaff House Building (1868), Empress Market Building (1889) Karachi Port Trust Office (1916), Hindu Gymkhana (1925) Mohatta Palace (1927), Karachi Municipal Corporation Building (1932). India’s first tramway system was also constructed in Karachi. That time Karachi was famous in neighboring regions for its railway-tram network, churches, mosques, court-houses, markets, paved streets, roads, bridges and port facilities. Expats were coming to earn their livings and businesses.
In 1947, Karachi was declared as the Capital of Pakistan and that was the climax of this large city. Later in 1960, the capital of Pakistan moved to Islamabad and so miseries and downfall of this beautiful city started.
Being a large metropolitan city, the political approach of the residents of this city is different from interior Sindh that is why feudalism is never welcome by urban voters. The largest migrated community, from India during partition settled in port city which, in late 80s started strengthening themselves politically. After the fall of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan Peoples Party gained a strong hold on interior Sindh due to feudalism. But PPP could not impress urban voters. So, after the restoration of democracy in Pakistan from 1988 to till now Pakistan Peoples Party is continuously forming a provincial government in Sindh but due to less support by the urban community in Karachi, PPP never secures a majority in Karachi city. However, at local government level, Mohajir community always secured maximum seats and ruled the city at local government level.
Nations raise their armies to defend the boundaries of their homelands, but unfortunately, we always engage our forces even in those services where our public sector departments are supposed to deliver
Third element is the federal government of any third party. Initially due to continuous political change at federal level, Pakistan Muslim League could not focus Pakistan’s largest metropolitan city. Because, three different parties always played tug of war to gain political control of the port city and at the end public service delivery and residents were badly affected and suffered. Political immaturity is also one main factor which caused the failure of all public sector departments which were supposed to plan aggressively on priority basis but failed.
High incompetency of public sector departments is the fourth element which increased the misery of poor people. Due to the corruption, nepotism, political interference, lack of professionalism and lack of sense of responsibility, the higher management of these public service departments could not deliver at different levels.
Now the situation is worse and instead of taking any responsibility, all parties are blaming each other and the main reason is three different parties are ruling Karachi with three different types of democratic systems of local, provincial and federal governments. As public sector departments are also suffering due to this type of democratic system.
All stakeholders contributed as much as they can to increase the miseries of this city. Now Karachi is facing almost all basic problems like load shedding, sanitation, solid waste management, scarcity of sweet water, infrastructure, health facilities, building control and construction. In short, you can find all major problems in this city.
The role of residents is also very disappointing as they never own this beautiful city which was one of the most developed cities in Asia before partition. This is another very important element which added values to miseries. Cleanliness is half of our faith, but unfortunately, residents clean their houses and throw all garbage out of their houses, excess use of disposable plastic products, power theft, violation of building control rules with the collaboration of relevant departments, encroachment and many more. The second party in all these violations is always citizens of this city. So citizens are also equally responsible for all this crisis.
Nations raise their armies to defend the boundaries of their homelands, but unfortunately, we always engage our forces even in those services where our public sector departments are supposed to deliver. Hence proved our public service delivery by public sector departments is zero or totally failed. In the same city we have some posh private residential areas where all facilities are provided to residents. Why? Because of good and strict administration and management. I think, for the provision of the same facilities in these posh areas, we should hand over the whole city to these administrations and managements. Because residents are ready to pay for facilities but our public sector departments are unable to provide facilities. Everybody is responsible for all this system failure.
What is the solution of all this mess? In the short term, the Federal government sent army to provide municipal services to taxpayers. But after all this war-base actions and cleaning by the Army, how public sector departments will maintain it. So in the long run, local, provincial and federal governments should have to develop some mechanism where all relevant departments report to only one government either to local, provincial or federal.
In the last general election, PTI secured thirteen national assembly seats from the economic hub of Pakistan and also has a majority in parliament and senate which can enable the federal government to find a permanent solution on an exceptional basis as now in Karachi for PTI situation is like do or die. If PTI wants to keep grip on mega city, Prime minister should have to take the lead to win the confidence of their voters. No matter if the solution is in terms of either separate province, take over as a federal area, declare as metropolitan city, empower the provincial government or empower local government. Citizens will welcome any type of solution as their main concern is law and order and provision of all basic facilities which is not possible in the current tug of war game.
Otherwise after successful completion of municipality services by army and NDMA, again after a couple of months, the nation will watch back to back press conferences filled with blame games. And PTI will never have a chance to get more seats in the next General Election. We also need to sensitize and mobilize the community of this city so that they can own this city to keep it clean.
At the end, on the behalf of nation, I would like to ask one question to all political stakeholders that why they never call all parties conference on such issues which are directly linked with their voters?
This article was originally published at: https://dailytimes.com.pk/650310/helpless-to-manage/
Approved By SDPI