Karachi is the ex-capital of Pakistan and now it is the largest metropolitan of the country as well as the financial hub. It contributes to around 70% of the overall revenue to the national treasury. People from all over the country as well as from different parts of the world used to come over here to initiate their business ideas just because of the welcoming nature of this big-hearted city. But right now Karachi is drowning.
Karachi is drowning miserably
Due to recent storming rainfall in the region, the City of Karachi is drowning into urban flood. This type of extreme rains was recorded around 90 years back in the history of the city. Cars are getting sink into the water flow, poor people are getting displaced from their homes.
This includes areas like Surjani Town, Orangi Town, North Karachi, New Karachi, Korangi, Baldia Town, Malir, Safoorah Goth, Yousuf Goth, Yaroo Goth and the list goes on.
Why Karachi is drowning like this?
In July 2020, a Rapid Need Assessment Urban Flooding report was published by HANDS (Monitoring Evaluation & Research Program) on OCHA United Nations powered ReliefWeb Portal. In that report the preparation and needs which were required to be arranged in pre-flooding situation was clearly mentioned in detail.
Rapid Need Assessment Urban Flooding in Karachi report by OCHA United Nations
The RNA Urban Flooding in Karachi report being published by HANDS on OCHA UN’s portal called ReliefWeb in July stated that:
“In the city, as visible to all, width of many rain water drains and Nullah have been reduced, on many construcuton have been done, and most of them are choked with garbage. Information collected through different sources revealed that there are many structures and building have been constructed over the drain of Soldier bazar incuding two banks, gold shops / market, one section of girls high school, Shaheen complex, car parking area of supreme court, district NAB office, KMC market and Aurganzeb market. In Lyari, on Muhammad Shah road, part of Kakri ground, meat market and two masjids are constructed on one of the drain.
These issues were liable to get some focus according to HANDS as well as OCHA, but it was not necessary for provincial government to even think about that. This is the main difference in the mindsets of developed and developing nations.
Owners of Karachi right now
The city is having population around 25 million and it is getting increased day by day as the people from other cities used to migrate over here to find out some better opportunities to work and earn. And the mandate of the city is now pretty much divided among different political powers. These powers includes Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) & Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
PPP’s Government is ruling in the province of Sindh since last many years, more than decade
PTI is having the mandate from Karachi in terms of secured seats both in Sindh Assembly (SA) and National Assembly (NA), MQM is at No. 2 and PPP is at the last. But still provincial government has been established by PPP somehow someway.
Having most of the seats from Karachi in terms of both SA and NA PTI cannot do anything, because all the authorities are lying under the management and authority of the provincial government. And because Karachi is not an independent province or something equivalent to it, its seats would not impose a great impact on forming governments. These parliamentarians of PTI (holding Karachi’s mandate now) and MQM (lying on No. 2 in terms of mandate) has not proven themselves as much successful in performing advocacy for the metro. Because since it is lying under the jurisdiction of Provincial government of Sindh, the penetration and emergence of equal rights will be remained extremely low.
I would call it as a grudge of Sindh Government to the people of Karachi. Because since Benazir Bhutto Shaheed’s Era PPP never took heavy mandate from Karachi. And still somehow they manage to form government in the province continuously since last 12 years.
Karachi is drowning and Mayor of Karachi City can only wipe out his tears
Right now there is local government of MQM being established in Karachi which we call Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). This local government is extremely helpless as the Mayor of Karachi Mr. Waseem Akhter used to be complaining always about the non-availability of authorities and funds by the provincial government do conduct his tasks in the city. Means, can you imagine that Mayor of a city having population of 25 million and being the financial hub of the country is not authoritative enough to at least get able to clean up the mess and disposing the garbage of the city. He is also not having power to clean up and maintain the rainwater drainage system of the city (Sound’s so weird actually).
Right now there is a situation of emergency being declared in the city of Karachi due to rain thunderstorms and Karachi is drowning badly. Local government is helpless and isn’t doing anything to help the citizens in these hard times. Provincial government has shown some of the movement and is trying to help the suffering citizens of Pakistan being resided in Karachi, I think they are showing some movement after see the Karachiites facing the worst scenario right now and eventually provincial government is responsible for all this menace.
Federal government and Pakistan Army’s role is much appreciable
The main role here has been played by the federal government by deploying National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pakistan Army Karachi Core regiment, Rangers and Frontier core for the rescue of the people being displaced and suffering hard in Karachi right now. They cleaned up the storm water drainage systems of the city, rescued people who got displaced and moved them into the camps safely. Pakistan Army always feels the pain of the civilians of Pakistan, and same as they did when they saw Karachi is drowning due to natural disastrous situation.
Provincial government is not ready to play the role and understand the issues of the people of Karachi. In this situation those who are having mandate from here means PTI and MQM need to do something serious to make the people of Karachi relieved from all the ignorance by the provincial government. This all menace is being created due to the lack of attention and focus by provincial government. Karachi is also the provincial capital and need to be treated like a capital. But this has been so much unfortunate and injustice with this city, that since last 10 years no one is ready take the ownership of these issues and crises, and never tried to find some better way to get rid of all those issues megacity is facing. But everyone is ever ready to lift over heavy financial and all types of benefits from the city.
Why we always need a wake-up call?
In Pakistan we wait for the worst scenario to show some movement. The biggest example is the APS attack. It seemed like that we were waiting for something like that to be happened and when it happened then we started doing all of our efforts to get rid of that extreme terrorism in the country. Same sort of scenario can be seen right now in Karachi it is the worst at least I haven’t saw in my life before. This had been declared as the storm emergency in the city. People are being killed in result of electrocution every time when it rains in Karachi. Children are drowning out in the flowing flooding water. If we calculate the overall deaths in result of rains then it is going to be equal to the martyrs of APS and other terrorist attack. It can’t be worse than that.
It is therefore the authorities need to think seriously about all these issues the city and its locals are facing right now. Because if they fails further to attend the issues of the residents of Karachi, then these people would might stop believing in the power and authority of state. Especially the provincial government need to feel the pain and stop watching Karachi is drowning out like this miserably.
Story by: Talha Ali Hashmi (Creative Head, MTD), Talha is a researcher possessing a degree in Environmental Studies and a certified Environmentalist from Technical University of Denmark. He is writing on Current Affairs, Environmental Management, Education and Technology since last 8 years