By: Zamir Hussain Laghari
This is deplorable that our conscienceless rulers, who claim to be elected representatives, have drastically changed the face of Karachi that once used to be the ‘City of Lights’. It seems now that the metropolis has turned into the ‘City of Sewage’.
On the port city’s main thoroughfares, the small seas of stagnant water often emerge to inundate roads and trigger traffic gridlock for several hours, adding to the torment of already oppressed masses and multiplying their physical and mental stress.
Recently, a pipeline burst caused flood-like situation in the Quaidabad area where roads, markets and streets came under knee-deep water.
Unfortunately, this city is running its municipal administrative affairs without a mayor, so the mismanagement is a given.
Every morning when people leave for work, they find areas drenched in sewage water and overflowing gutters. Passing vehicles often splash this dirty water on them.
This is common in many areas such as Malir, Kalaboard, Quaidabad,Saddar, Kharadar, North Nazimabad, Lalu Khait andGulistan-e-Johar; making their residents suffer daily.
Thank God the construction of flyovers in Malir has completed. However, commuters’ headache is not yet over as dug-up roads still exist in different areas.
We have witnessed that city’s ill-maintained sewerage and electricity systems easily collapse even after a moderate rainfall, turning the blessing into curse.
So, this is why Karachi is becoming the bemoaned ‘city of sewage’ as opposed to being a beloved ‘city of lights’.
If you talk to a commoner on roads and streets, you will find he or she somehow has a vision and solution to these civic issues. However, the government continues to be ineffective.
MQM-nominated mayor of Karachi, Waseem Akhter, while commenting on the situation in TV talk shows, nowadays expresses more disappointment and frustration, saying that the ‘sleeping beauties’ have ignored this city of 25 million people, and that its futile to divert their attention.
And of course it’s evident that the Sain Sarkar, after ruining its political strongholds of Nawabshah, Larkana and Lyari, is on the course to literally turn Karachi into Mohenjo Daro (meaning the mound of dead).
And the reason is that the city has been deprived of mega development projects for last several years. Incompetent PPP government under 89-year-old Chief Minister earmarks billions for so-called uplift projects in annual budgets, but to no avail since it doesn’t release funds.
Although Qaim Ali Shah has set a record of world’s aged Chief Minister, Karachi is the ultimate sufferer.
This city as well as the entire province is paying the price as its old chief minister is not that physically/mentally active, capable and quite up to the mark for holding office of head of the province.
Karachi is also suffering due to the standoff between PPP and MQM. Such chaos in power corridors has led the metropolis to a close-ended street.
None of the political leaders have time to think and plan for Karachiites. No mayor like late Abdul Sattar Afghani, Naimat Ullah Khan and Mustafa Kamal is in the arena to own and lead this city where solution to a devastating heatwave is mere mass graves.
In the heat wave last year, which killed nearly 5,000 people according to unofficial figures, there was a terrible situation where people suffering from the heat where being rushed to hospitals but could not get treatment.
A charity worker said he met a man who shifted his heat-stricken father to 15 hospitals, one after another, but no facility took him. Consequently, his father died. However, the misfortune did not end there.
After his father’s demise, the family could neither get space for the body in mortuary nor a 6×2 feet space of a grave for next three days.
There may be hundreds of such stories in all nooks and corners of Karachi, but who cares? The fact is that even dying is not so easy in this city where misery of the people and greed of ruling clique, both are limitless.
Given that, have we ever thought why this city has acquired an identity of the city of target killers, garbage heaps, darkness, lawlessness, crowded buses, traffic mess and much more beyond description? Are the rulers only responsible? I think no!
The more I pondered upon this question, the more I realize the fact that mainly problem remains at our end. We, the common people, are responsible, for our silence, lack of concern, inaction, and passive attitude that gives courage to the culprits.
I was thinking that if thousands come out of their homes in scorching heat for funerals in this city (as we witnessed recently), why don’t we come out against injustice, cruelty and oppression? Why don’t we nip the evil in the bud? Why don’t we wake up before a tragedy or loss takes place? This is the point to realize before it’s too late.
[The author is an online journalist. Likes research and writing on social issues, culture, tourism and international affairs.]