Posts in Karachi

COUNT US IN CENSUS!

There hardly may have been any unfortunate city as much as Karachi! Period. Known as Pakistan’s financial capital, yet still, this city is a political orphan whose problems hardly matter to the country’s ruling class. Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan with a population of up to 200 million as per Google in 2012, is still a city with the least importance in the country’s political landscape. For instance, Karachi’s number of seats in the National Assembly is 21, with a population count of 16 million as per the recent census report. Whereas FATA, whose population is 5 million, makes 1/3rd of Karachi share 12 seats in the National Assembly.

Karachi, which contributes more than 50% of its tax revenue, is the only urban center without the Bus Rapid Transport system in the country. A city that generates up to almost 1000 Billion rupees per year gets Rs 10 billion in return, ending with zero development and dilapidated infrastructure. Pakistan’s most diverse and vibrant city, and a city with the most educated people, still bar its citizens from getting into the bureaucracy and administration – all thanks to the unjust quota system. Known as ‘Mini Pakistan,’ the city’s political importance can be easily measured by the fact that neither provincial nor federal govt require the seats from Karachi to form a government. And what could be a better example than witnessing PPP ruling this province for the third time consecutively despite not having even 1/4th of Karachi’s total seats?

And just when not having empowered local government and a decentralized govt system are the critical issues that bring the city on the verge of collapse. To make matters worse, Karachi couldn’t even get the correct population count in the census 2017. Adding insult to injury, it got the forged census results, which undermines Karachi’s population, neither a blind person can believe!

Census, which blown the senses!

On 23rd December, after a lapse of three years, the federal cabinet finally approved the 6th National Census 2017 with a dissenting note from MQM — one of govt’s main allies. The delay of 3 years in pushing this exercise invigorates a rat’s smell to what were the reasons that didn’t let the census results get past from the cabinet?

Census at regular intervals helps the government-run the administration smoothly, provides detailed statistical data, guides in framing policies, and allocates resources. Furthermore, the population distribution by the demography factors into the NFC award, the delimitation of constituencies, and the allocation of seats in parliament.

The roots of any problem lie in knowing the intensity and scale of it. And how can we take the problems to the solution when we couldn’t know the accurate scale of it, especially when it’s about a megacity like Karachi.

The crisis in terms of public facilities Karachi is facing is not a secret to anyone. From outdated drainage systems to poor urban planning, water scarcity to lack of public transportation, not having empowered local bodies, and a small chunk of budget against giant challenges. Amidst all these problems, now not having a fair census count is to sprinkle the salt on the burn of Karachiites.

Karachi is the financial hub and called Mini Pakistan for a reason. In the last two decades, if there is any city that has witnessed the huge influx of people coming to find jobs and a shelter for their families and offered more opportunities, it’s Karachi. Yet still, if the population count in the recent census is showing only 40% increase in last 20 years, whereas, on the contrary, Lahore – the capital city of Punjab have gone to more than 100% person increase in the population, then I am sure there is definitely something wrong with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and everyone involved in this census.

Note to state!

Already Pakistan’s history isn’t good enough in coping with the extreme challenges faced by the neglected communities or part of the society. The country has already paid a huge price against the decision of not accepting the representation from the larger ethnic group of the country.

Fair census count is a basic right of every citizen. The results of the recent census have been disputed by many political parties, especially ones that are representative of the financial capital of Pakistan. Already three years have been passed to this census, which was conducted without a pilot survey other than procedural anomalies, yet in all these years, there made zero efforts by the state to follow up this census by a post-enumeration survey (5% audit) as mentioned in the constitution.

Not having a fair count in the census is equal to the genocide of a certain community because there is no greater crime than denying the existence of a certain community on the basis of discrimination.

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Why I think Ali Zaidi’s cleanliness drive Karachi is a pure political stunt?

“Karachi – Our Stories in our Words” – Book Review

It was about the month of December when I paid a visit to the Karachi International Book Fair, which held every year at the Expo Center Karachi. Paying a visit to every bookstall was an uphill task, so I decided to pay my visit to a few specific yet renowned bookstalls.

Fortunately, I got to see the bookstall of “Oxford University Press” from where I bought a wonderful book titled “Karachi – Our Stories in Our Words” by Manizah Naqvi.

Being a Karachiite, I am fascinated about the history of my city as everybody else does, and always look up to discover the stories created under the name of this city. This book “Karachi – Our Stories in Our Words” is also a collection of 99 stories based on Karachi written by unique writers for a competition arranged by Oxford University Press – edited by Manizah Naqvi.

Reading this book, one after another chapter, it realizes me of the transformation from which this city had been through and still going to this date. The stories of old Karachi, the Karachi of pre-partition times, post-partition, and since after that. The diversity Karachi holds, not only in terms of races but religion though. Therefore, you’ll find the mention of Victoria-wala [Horse Cart], old city areas, old names of the streets, and else.

Going through this book, I also came to know about the essence and beauty, this city loses from time to time in the face of violence. The political divide which further resulted in ethnic violence. Waves of communal riots and sectarian killings. All have been covered in the form of tragic and painful stories, the people of this city have faced.
You find the story of a sad old man and his pigeons portrayed by Syeda Wajiha Akram. An old man, who have spent his whole life seeing the ups and down of the city, is a bit saddened regarding the situation of his city in the final stages of his life.

Another amazing story with the title “Our Last Azaan” by Asmara Malik, in which she puts light to other capital cities of their provinces including Karachi. In this story, she beautifully defines the phrase “Karachi is Hell”.
Yet another masterpiece was written by Faraz Mehmood titled as “The Heirloom”. This is one of my favorite stories from this collection. Faraz beautifully defines the character of ‘Mehtaab’ who works for a business tycoon as a “Khansaama“. The tycoon women blackmail Mehtaab and deprived him of its necessities and belongings, later meets the ill fate of nature.

These stories are just the tip of the iceberg, this book comprises of several wonderful and heart touching stories related to this city. Stories that reminiscences about the splendid nature that differs this city from other cities of the world. From stories like ‘the clash of the poor girl with a rich one that ends at heartwarming note’ to “Karachi, Then… and Now.”, this book has a lot more stories to inspire us, to give us a ray of hope, to thrive, and hope for a better future.

Among all the inspiring and bright stories, I felt broken and terrible about the pain and trauma, the people of this city suffered from, as the majority of the stories linked to the violence continued decades in this city. Such is the intensity of that violence that not only reflects on our minds, but affects our daily lives, and even affected badly our culture and literature, for which this book is a handful proof.
Ending this piece, with my most loved para from this book, quoted from the story “The Old Man and The Pigeons”, as it says:

“I hadn’t ever thought much about life in Karachi but the pieces were gradually beginning to fall into place, it was as if a mist that had enveloped my mind was beginning to lift. As long as you had something going for you in this city, even it was nothing more than afternoon tea, being able to see a sunrise and set each day, and trusting pigeons feeding out of your hand, (or having some street food in the evening), there would be a tomorrow. And there would be hope.”

Why I think Ali Zaidi’s cleanliness drive Karachi is a pure political stunt?

Imagine a group of people shouting at your doorstep, streets and your media screens claiming that they got the ultimate solution for every problem, and are the best group of people to deploy it.

Well, leave that!

Why not talk about the oppressed Karachi? And in case you are wondering why I’ve termed Karachi as oppressed, let me prove my word.

There may be any other unfortunate city as Karachi, because any other country whose financial hub had witnessed the killings of 22 people from electric current due to rainfall had gone into deep depression and crisis.

But in Karachi, who cares? If the thousand people died from heat stroke or a numerous from electric current during the rainfall… this city gets nothing more than few headlines.

And now when the damage has been done. The Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Mr. Ali Zaidi [who ran for the mayor in the recent local bodies elections in Karachi] has now accidentally jumps in; claims to make Karachi clean in the next 14 days.

Furthermore, When Ali Zaidi was asked about why the PTI Karachi failed to step up despite having 14 MNA’s from Karachi during the recent fall, he got nothing new to say in contrary to the different stakeholders of this city; that all the development power of this lies in the rank of Sindh Government.

Only God knows better, if there is any greater power than having the Federal Government which is enjoyed by PTI at large — the same party from where the 14 MNA’s of Karachi including Ali Zaidi belongs.

Karachi Cleanliness Drive

Now, when Ali Zaidi has just announced to make Karachi super-clean in the next 14 days, I am pretty sure that no sane person can be seeing it as an ultimate solution for Karachi. As this campaign also lasts as no more than a political stunt, carried out by so many others in the past.

To Mr. Ali Zaidi, who’s now presenting himself as the savior of Karachi, here’s my few questions about your politically motivate cleanliness drive.

  • If the PTI Karachi do not have the development power for this city as claimed by you previously, then why the hell you were scolding in your election campaign and seeking for the votes? You left no stone unturned to take a jibe at the MQM for their powerlessness; and now your are tasting your own medicine.

 

  • Does the 2-week cleanliness drive is an ultimate solution of this city? When this city have no proper garbage disposal system? What will be the fate of this city in terms of Garbage disposal after the 2 weeks successful cleanliness campaign? What will Ali Zaidi be achieved after 2 weeks of successfull cleanliness campaign, when the city meets the same fate as it is today, because there is no existence of garbage disposal?

 

  • Let’s not put all the buff on the people for not being responsible? For an example, let’s believe, if the people starts putting all their litter in the dustbins and garbage containers. Still this garbage ends up going into the sea or burning at the corner of our street or beneath any flyover/bridge. Except Karachi, all the other cities of Pakistan (Faisal Mosque pictured below) filled up with the litter and garbage every day and every minute, yet their garbage disposal is so pro active, that all the litter picked up within a day.

 

garbage

 

  • Also, the savior Ali Zaidi announced the Cleanliness fund following the foot prints of the mighty Dam Fund. I wish, he could more elaborate, that if to pick the garbage of this city requires the funding from its citizens, why the hell the people of this city are still paying a large share of taxes? Karachi has already given a share of around 6000 Arab to federal and provincial govt on the name of various taxes… wouldn’t that be enough?

[Read More : Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan and the Pakistani’s!]

Fact of the matter is, this cleanliness drive of Ali Zaidi is no more than a joke. Karachi requires serious political attention and permanent solution. Not so gimmicks in the name of weekly campaigns and else.

And as far as the issue of “Ikhtiyarat” [control] is concerned, what is the difference between MQM and PTI; when even PTI still failed to claim authority over anything despite having the federal govt? What about those promises that our current President Arif Alvi made through out the whole election campaign?

The truth is, PTI isn’t interested in making Karachi a separate province which directly means they’re not interested in solving the issues of Karachi. Because there is no other permanent solution for Karachi than being turned into a separate administrative unit or having the provincial govt from Karachi which seems impossible for the next decade.

 

Anything other than the separate administrative unit for Karachi is a gimmick!

 

And who knows, that Ali Zaidi might run in the race for the Mayor Of Karachi in the upcoming local bodies elections on the platform being set up by Khalai Makhlooq!

To PTI Karachi, when pulling out a political stunt next time, please do not be fool, or either don’t try us to be. The people of Karachi didn’t voted you for this!

Has Karachi Become a Peaceful City?

Karachi is now a peaceful city to live. Well, I’m not sure, but at least this is what our law enforcement agencies and political parties claimed.

From the killing of 20 people daily to one or none, almost zero extortion rate with the total cleansing of kidnapping for ransom, one must admit that Karachi has witnessed a massive transformation in terms of its circumstances and the importance of a human life.

As of now, there are no more unforeseen strikes now, neither the uncertainty once it had from the political parties. Thanks to MQM and PPP whom bloody imprints are more embarked on this city than their development politics.

Also, there is no more concept of Aman Comittee Lyari, backed by the PPP govt at once and ethnic violence, which furiously changed the fate of this city.

But does overcoming all the above scenarios guarantees the peacefulness of a city? Are these factors enough for a city to call it peaceful? Or are we missing any anecdote that ensure the peacefulness of a city?

A peaceful city?

A peaceful city is one in which its people walk out in the streets without any fear of life and money.

Defining this clause, one can easily estimate that years after the start of the mighty Karachi operation, the city still doesn’t fit at this condition. Because the very first thing that comes to our mind is the uncertainty that rules our heart and mind, when walking out in the streets of Karachi. Which is, the fear of snatching, mugging and getting robbed which no one could put aside.

From star studded personalities like Shahid Afridi to an ordinary person, the majority of the people of this had tasted the incident of mugging/snatching in the face of street crimes with themselves, sacrificing their lives even.

The another side of these incidents, which neither the government nor the law enforcement agencies caring about is the massive number of lives that has been gunned down by the snatchers. Recently, the wife of one of the professor at N.E.D University has been killed in a mugging attempt at Maskan Chowrangi, Gulshan e Iqbal.

Not sure why the security agencies and political parties that took active part in demolishing the terrorism network through the Karachi Operation, not prioritizing this issue or ignoring this debacle.

After all, this is the same city where Sindh Rangers with the support of government carried out an operation on a massive scale to cut the roots of terrorism. Yet not so, to wipe out the ghost of street crimes from the streets of Karachi.

According to a recent survey, at least one person is killed everyday on average in Karachi, amidst street crimes.

Now the question arises, that the LEA’s and government who succeed to cut out the roots of terrorism, why failed to put a full stop to the unraveling street crimes in Karachi. As the same law enforcement agencies with full of potential exists today as they were in the past. Isn’t it all about prioritizing the issue?

The Remaining Tale of Terrorism

While the clouds of terrorism in Karachi have almost been shattered, yet one never forgets the killing of high profile personalities in the recent span.

With the claims of terrorism almost been wiped off, it seems that terrorists are actually on a break. They can still operate in a free environment like no other. And what else could be the evidence than the killing of one of the most influential leader of MQM-P Syed Ali Raza Abidi, who shot dead on the eve of 25th December, 2018. Surprisingly, that too in Defence Phase 5, which considered to be one of the safest area in Karachi.

And the target killers of him are yet to be arrested…. Period!

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A Question to our LEA’s and Govt…

I don’t know what is the actual definition of peace near our Law Enforcement Agencies and Government — but to me, its all about walking out of your home without the fear of losing your life and money which we [the people of Karachi] can’t.

Every time on news channels, there is a special space for the headlines regarding the street crimes in Karachi — yet no measures have been taken by the Government and Security Agencies to put an end to it.

Its hard to imagine, that to get rid from the likes of Uzair Baloch and Altaf Hussain was possible, but to put a bar on the ever-increasing street crimes seems impossible.

Fact of the matter is, Karachi may have become a city with less terrorism, but its still not a peaceful city, as the people of it can’t go out on the streets without fear. Also, the terrorist can act with barbarism whenever they want without any hindrance. So to claim that Karachi has became a peaceful city by eliminating terrorism but not street crimes, one can only lives in fools paradise.

Regards,

A subversive Karachiite!