A deteriorating situation

Albert Arooj Bhatti

Once again Karachiites witnessed a strong spell of monsoon rains. The rainwater flooded streets and even major thoroughfares in the port city. It has now become the norm. The people of Karachi witness casualties, prolonged power breakdowns, overflowing drains, and inundated streets with bumper-to-bumper vehicular traffic. Several people, including children, were also killed in the heavy rains.

The mayhem exposed grave shortcomings in the planning, development and management of a city that houses over eight percent of the national population.

Despite warning from the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the provincial government did not take any action in this regard.

A landslide in Karachi’s Gulistan-e-Johar Block 3 destroyed over 80 cars and motorbikes. Rainwater entered multiple houses in several areas of Karachi. Residents of the area were seen seeking help and moving stuff in knee-deep water.  

But unfortunately, our rulers despite facing cursed are not ashamed. Mayor Karachi in his farewell press conference breaks into tears over woes of Karachi. What about those people who are regularly facing these woes? Not a single politician is worried about the people of Karachi.

A few days back, Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a welcoming step, directed National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to reach Karachi and start a “clean up” drive in the aftermath of the monsoon rains. The authority claimed to have cleaned three major drains of the city on the fifth day of its taking the assignment given by the prime minister.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan led Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government continue to blame one another.

However, the drains once again overflowed. Illegal construction, untreated sewage disposal, diminishing public spaces, terrible infrastructure, these issues will not be solved effortlessly.   

Coordinated decision making for development and management is necessary. Decisions that stem from scientific wisdom gained through analysis and evaluation of realities give rise to better results. But in Karachi, decisions are made to benefit the politicians. A big step from the people of Karachi is needed to change the deteriorating situation of the city, which will surely benefit the future generations.  

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