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Karachi, a city considered to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, provides livelihood to millions of people from across the length and breadth of the country.
In spite of contributing heftily to the national exchequer since the inception of this country, the city unfortunately still has not been able to find a person or a group who would actually take ownership of this huge metropolis of roughly 22 Million residents. An irony that is unparalleled in the urban history of the world.
Karachi is a city with no direction – at least no forward direction. In the past 14 years, the only direction, if any, that Karachi has taken is downhill.
It is used to ‘use and abuse’ from the whole of Pakistan – sometimes from its own residents also. In fact Karachi has served as a Milking Cow which has been milked by the whole of Pakistan and its milk savored and enjoyed by all and sundry without any concern that one day, it will reach its end of the productive cycle because of the simple fact that nobody ever cared for the cow. I am afraid that with the fast deteriorating situation, the productive cycle may very soon reach its terminal point.
With a crumbling infrastructure, ruined roads, no effective transport system, no waste management system, no long term planning for the ever increasing influx from all over, coupled with dwindling law and order situation and ever increasing shift of business concerns due to no respite in sight, Karachi has come to a final and most important juncture of its life as the financial capital of the country.
Let’s discuss the situation of Karachi from a political aspect as it is the politics which prosper or doom a city. Unfortunately, in the past 14 years, the focus has only been on latter.
Karachi is also unlucky geographically. It belongs to the province of Sindh, the ethnic divide and stark difference in cultural refinement between Karachi and Rest of Sindh ensured that it never got the autonomy that it always deserved. The ruling herd of this province – This may offend a few people – probably abused the city the most.
They only come to the city when a particular regime is in Power and ensure that every Resident of Karachi whether one lives in Defence or in New Karachi gets to feel their power and insensitivity towards Karachi and its residents. The past 14 years are a proof of the moral, cultural and infrastructural plunder Karachi has endured at their hands. The corruption and nepotism witnessed are probably worsted the city has ever seen.
The residents of Karachi also have a hand in the situation. Probably, over the years, they watched too many Bollywood movies glorifying the Mumbai Underworld and thought that big cities are only controlled by might and power – whether by hook or by crook and thus supported an entity and organization who not only helped the others ravage Karachi but also brought shame to its supporters every now and then – Whom they thought of messiahs have actually been the forerunners in the economic and social destruction of the 7th largest city in the world. BUT only if the people of Karachi could comprehend!
Having said the above, we have to remember PAKISTAN is a federation wherein the federal government is like a mother who treats all children equally. The most unfortunate tale of this saga is the fact that for the Federal government, Pakistan probably starts at Murree and ends at Faisalabad. In reality, to call the current government a federal government is a joke in itself which is obvious from the truth that almost all the federal ministers belong to one particular city LET alone a province.
The Federation as a whole and the current government, in particular, has miserably failed to alleviate any of the problems faced by the city or Rather it sometimes feels that are actually wanting Karachi to go into oblivion slowly and gradually. Their actions and attitude are more towards keeping a silent watch on the gradual destruction of the city by ensuring that whenever any of the players tries to deviate from its given role, they come in play and ensure that the process of destruction continues unhindered.
The apathy of the Federal government and the ruling elite of northern Punjab towards Karachi and its problems is criminal, to say the least. The remaining two provinces of the federation are themselves sufferers in one way or the other so it would be needless to comment on their role.
It hurts seeing Karachi turn into a bygone city in front of your own eyes. Unless the apathy towards Karachi from all the concerned ends, I don’t see Karachi getting back on its feet and to end this apathy, an entity or a group has to come forward and take the ownership of city which has literally carried the whole of Pakistan on its shoulders for more than 60 long years.
Sadly, with the current players in play and the mental state of its residents, the future seems bleak and the city is destined to remain in an orphanage – at least for now.