Karachi – The lifeline of Pakistan is badly clogged
The Baloch tribes from Balochistan and Makran settled a small village on the delta of Indus River near Indian Ocean back in late 1600 century. At that time it was named as Kolachi. These tribes came and settled here and started fishery business from this small village. With the passage of time in early 1700 century, these tribes started local trading from this village to Gulf regions. Later, the Kolachi started to grow as the main business and port trading activity point and was being called Karachi. These tribes constructed a small fort for the protection of this small business hub and presented to Khan of Kalat who later handed over this fort to the rulers of Sindh in 1795.
Keeping in view the importance of this town, the British captured this town and Sindh province in February 1843 to strengthen their hold on region and to control main trading from this region. At that time the total population of this small city was just 9000 citizens. In 1846, the city experienced a cholera epidemic and a Conservancy Board was established in the city to protect the people from this disease which was later converted into a Municipal Commission in 1852 and it was again upgraded as Municipal Committee in 1853.
The British Rule connected this 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).
In 1878, after the implementation of The Bombay District Municipal Act 1837 in Sindh the Municipality started to collect House Tax on Property owners, being first municipality to collect the taxes in the sub-continent. At that time total population of the city was around 105,000 people including Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Parsi communities and Iranians, Lebanese and Goan merchants as well. In 1900, India’s first tramway system was constructed in Karachi. That time Karachi was famous in neighbouring regions for its railway-tram network, churches, mosques, court-houses, markets, paved streets, roads, bridges and port facilities.
Everybody love to take a ride in flagged cars with protocol on the carpeted roads of Karachi but nobody even bother to take the ownership of this city and to solve public issues
In 1947, Karachi was declared as the Capital of Pakistan. After partition, the city also offered shelter to migrants and refugees who came from the Indian provinces. Later, in 1960, the capital of Pakistan was moved to Islamabad. Being a port city, Karachi never lost its importance as the economic hub of Pakistan.
Maximum large scale manufacturers, industry, traders, retailers and multinational company offices are still situated in Karachi and from these businesses revenue departments are generating huge revenues for district, provincial and federal governments at different level. This city is also generating huge charity from business communities.
If we look at only port business, currently, the Karachi Port Trust operational performance during fiscal year 2018-19 (July-March) stood at 35,361,000 tones. The export cargo handled 10,415,000 tons as compared to 9,206,000 tons last Pakistan Economic Survey 2018-19 212 year, showing a substantial increase of 13 percent, while volume of import cargo stood at 24,945,000 tons. These types of business activities generating huge revenue in terms of custom and excise duties on import and exports and other form of taxes on industry and manufacturers.
Currently, with a high ratio of revenue in terms of taxes, charity collection, excise and custom duties, unfortunately the residents of Karachi are still suffering a lot due to mismanagement, political issues, incompetency of district, provincial and federal public sector departments.
Karachi is one of the largest metropolitan Asian city but our political parties are totally failed to take care of this business hub which was very well maintained by rulers in past 150 years ago.
Ironically, everybody is blaming each other but nobody is ready to take the ownership of this city. Everybody love to take a ride in flagged cars with protocol on the carpeted roads of Karachi but nobody even bother to take the ownership of this city and to solve public issues.
The recent casualties in rainy season and damages of roads and buildings and failure of sanitation system is one example of this departmental incompetency. Although more than 20 people died of electrocution in the recent spell of monsoon downpour in the city. Such casualties remain a permanent feature in the metropolis, where more than 70 persons lost their lives in rain-related incidents between 2014 and 2019.
The remains of slaughtered sacrificial animals have made this misery more worst. These remains are still on roads along with dirty rain and black sewerage waters which is creating health and hygienic hazards as well.
This is need of the hour that district, provincial and federal governments should declare emergency for at least one year and special task force, comprising all stake holders, religious and political parties, should be established to solve the serious problems of this city. All stakeholders and political parties should unite on this issue so that the residents of this mega city can get the reward of being the generator of high revenue. Task force should sensitize all large scale business communities to donate and contribute for social welfare projects including sanitation, solid waste management, health and education.
On other hand this Task Force should also sensitize local communities to take part in cleaning the most beautiful city of Pakistan. Awareness sessions of proper solid waste disposal are also required.
We should not forget that our revenue departments are collecting revenue from this city since 1878. Therefore, city also deserves basic facilities from public sector departments.
Being Muslims it is also part of our belief that cleanliness is half of our faith and even in other religions it is very important to keep our residential, public areas and surroundings clean.Source: https://dailytimes.com.pk/451196/karachi-the-lifeline-of-pakistan-is-badly-clogged/
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.