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Karachi needs real attention

Zahid Awan


The writer is an entrepreneur and a senior politician.

Karachi is the economic hub of the country. The development of the city will make the entire country prosperous but this requires an effective solution to address the problems. This has been said by one other than Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan who paid a three-hour visit to Karachi on August 10 to show his interest in resolving the Sindh capital’s problems.

Before the elections, Imran Khan chanted the slogan of ‘Karachi’s Prime Minister’ and the people believed him. This became the reason for his success as a prime minister as the people of Karachi voted for him the most. But unfortunately, Imran Khan vacated the Karachi seat and citizens have to lament over their fate ever since.

Karachi is the largest city and industrial, commercial, educational, communication, and economic centre of Pakistan.  It was the capital of Pakistan from 1947 to 1960. Due to being the capital and international port, industrial activities started before any other city and the pace of economic growth has not slowed. Even today people from all over Pakistan come to Karachi in search of employment which is why different religious, ethnic, and linguistic groups live here. Karachi is also called ‘Little Pakistan’ for the same reason. 

At the time of Independence, the population of Karachi was only 400,000. The partition saw one million people migrate and settle in Karachi. The city’s population is currently growing at an annual rate of 5 percent and an estimated 45,000 people arrive every month from rural areas. In the last 70 years, the population and other demographics have changed significantly. The current population is around 24 million which is 37 times more than in 1947.

Karachi also faces numerous problems and unfortunately, no government seems to be serious in solving them. The seriousness of the federation can be gauged from the fact that Prime Minister Imran Khan may have made about ten visits in the past three years which entirely focused on political leadership, fundraising campaigns and mere formalities. The problems of Karachi cannot be solved by aerial tours alone and requires real attention.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has always ignored the chief minister of the province during his visits to Karachi. He should realise that he is the premier of the whole country and cannot ignores the captain of the province.

This raises doubts whether the prime minister is really concerned for Karachi because when it comes to taking practical steps, his commitment is seen nowhere.

The rift between the federal and the Sindh government and political tug-of-war comes at a steep price and it remains unknown when the water supply, transport, and other projects will finally be completed.

The prime minister always gives the people of Karachi false hopes and hollow dreams. In the past too, he announced development packages many times but deceived the people by showing Sindh’s funds as his own. Instead, the party lawmakers were given assembly funds secretly to develop the city,  giving them a free hand in corruption. The prime minister said the development of the country is linked to the development of Karachi but unfortunately neither Pakistan nor Karachi are being developed under his leadership. 

The PTI is preparing for the victory in the local body elections and claims are being made to form a government in Sindh by winning the next general elections from Karachi again. However, neither the prime minister nor the party’s elected members from Karachi have any answers when asked what they have done so far to solve the problems of the city.

PM Khan should understand that merely looking at the resources of Karachi and dreaming of ruling the city will not yield anything. If he really wants the development of Karachi, then he has to take practical steps, not hollow claims. Instead of visiting for only a few hours after months, he should visit regularly and get all the stakeholders together to solve the city’s problems because Karachi needs real attention.