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Why is Karachi virtually paralysed every time it is ‘blessed’ with rains?

 Published: July 1, 2016
 
Several roads in the city flooded with rainwater as nullahs got choked. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
Go to any major city on the planet and you’ll find that heavy rains do not affect normal life in any way. Drive from Genting Mountain to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in pouring rain (so heavy that you can’t see more than 10 feet ahead of you). No problem, business as usual. Roads don’t get damaged, the water doesn’t collect on the roads and in a few minutes the streets are miraculously empty of water.
No power breakdowns either. No need to buy and maintain expensive generators to produce electricity whenever it drizzles because there are no power outages. The same is the case in Britain, where it rains almost every day.
So why is Karachi virtually paralysed every time it is ‘blessed’ with rains?
I remember a time when it was declared as the cleanest city in the world (this was in 1959, during Ayub Khan’s reign). Shortly after the Peoples’ Party came to power in 1972, Karachi was designated as the dirtiest city on the planet, and it continues to be so even today.
Just think of what happened the other day, when after four days of gruelling heat (at times 40°C), Karachi received about an inch of rain (it was not more than a drizzle, really). Immediately, the electricity disappeared and our problems began. Without electricity, you can’t pump water to the overhead tank, so you had to lower buckets manually and fill them with water from the underground tank. Telephones stopped working, and you were without the internet. Servants rushed home to remove water from their homes (they wouldn’t be able to come back for a couple of days at least). It was just like living in the Stone Age.
Driving became a nightmare. The roads were flooded and you had to drive very carefully to avoid ponds and ditches which had formed. A few years ago, a lady politician had lost her children due to drowning when her car was swept into a storm water drain. There were live electric wires on the flooded roads, so you had to make sure you would step on dry ground after parking your car, to avoid being electrocuted like the four men who died that day.
And now, some facts: when the electric utility (KESC at the time) was privatised, we had hoped that now we would be free of power outages during heat waves and rains. But even though the company (now called KE) made a massive profit of Rs22 billion in the first nine months of the current year, we find it has not improved its performance at all.
And then there is the garbage everywhere. Even in Lahore, they have a solid waste management program, with garbage being recycled and where the residents are not in danger of contracting deadly diseases from stinking piles of waste. But then, Lahore is governed by people who were born there, and who care for their city. Karachi, however, is managed by outsiders, those who were born elsewhere, who have no love for the place, and whose only concern is to amass as much wealth from its taxes before they flee the country.
So, naturally, they are not at all bothered if the people of Karachi are always being tortured, even though they contribute a hefty chunk to the Sindh (non)government. In fact, some analysts have reported that as much as 85 per cent to 96 per cent of the province’s budget is recovered from Karachi. So the powers that be will never want to change the situation, they will naturally want to spend all the funds on themselves, rather than allow the city government to spend it on improving the s(t)inking megalopolis called Karachi.
The garbage will continue to remain on the streets and in the storm water drains, the roads will therefore be flooded during rains and mosquitoes will breed in the pools of dirty water which will not dry for months, unfortunate people will die of malaria, while those who looted Karachi will lead lavish lives in foreign lands without losing any sleep.
And you know what?
Karachi will always suffer as long as the locals are not given funds to manage the city. My heart bleeds for you, my beloved city!

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, teacher, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)
http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/35882/why-is-karachi-virtually-paralysed-every-time-it-is-blessed-with-rains/ 


Printed in Daily Times, June 29, 2016










Help Karachi

 

Block 9 of Clifton in Karachi is a posh area, with many foreign nationals visiting the shops there. The underpass on Clifton Road is located in the no-man’s area between Blocks 5 and 9. Block 5 falls under the jurisdiction of the district government, while Block 9 is managed by the Clifton Cantonment Board. For this reason, neither the district government nor the cantonment board is bothered by the mess created by people using the footpath above the underpass as an open-air toilet. Besides this filth, there are a dozen balloon vendors whose gas cylinders are liable to explode any time. A social welfare organisation has occupied part of the area above the underpass to sell and sacrifice goats. Due to this it is impossible to walk across without feeling sick. Since both Clifton Cantonment Board and the district administration are powerless in this matter and not willing to get the filth removed, I request either Bilawal Bhutto Zardari or his sister Aseefa to visit the place regularly so that it is kept clean. If they don’t care about the city, the filth will remain the permanent feature it has become and we hapless taxpayers will continue to suffer.
Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in The News, June 22, 2016
 

 



You forced me to break the law, Qaim Ali Shah!
By Shakir Lakhani Published: June 10, 2016



Over the past few years, citizens have watched helplessly as theft of automobiles and their spare parts is on the rise in the city. PHOTO: STOCK IMAGE

I’m not the kind of person who speeds through a red light, even if the drivers of vehicles behind me honk loudly enough to wake up the dead. I have a healthy respect for the law. So, when my son was deprived of his smart phone and 10 thousand rupees last month, I advised him to immediately report the crime to the police and the CPLC.
He smiled indulgently, saying that once you go to the cops they will never let you rest in peace and you’ll have to pay them a handsome amount to stop hounding you.
I don’t blame him.
The cops in Karachi are uncouth louts, most of whom cannot even speak Urdu, being political appointees from the rural areas of Sindh and Punjab.
God help you if you are with your wife and they stop you to search your car. They will take a long time doing it, all the time looking at your wife as if they’ve never seen a woman before.
So, when I parked my car this Sunday in Saddar (a locality in the heart of the city), the thought did cross my mind that a heroin addict might steal the side mirrors of my car (it had happened twice before, during the last three years). And that is exactly what happened.
When I returned after fifteen minutes, I found that one side mirror had been hacked off. I wonder why he didn’t take the other one. Perhaps he saw me coming and ran away.
The first thing I did was to look around for a cop.
Of course, none was there, all of them having been commandeered by the chief minister to protect his mansion from people who were protesting against the water shortage in Karachi.

For those who don’t know, as of 2014, Karachi has approximately 30,000 cops, 10,000 of whom are ‘ghost’ cops, another 10,000 are perpetually on leave, while the remaining 10,000 are assigned to those VVIPs who are ministers and members of the assembly. The result, of course, is a complete absence of law and order, with muggers and thieves free to loot the people who pay the taxes which are meant to be spent on their welfare.
I now had a choice:
1) Either I could ask the insurance company to replace the side mirror,
Or
2) Buy one from a shop selling stolen goods.
The last time my side mirrors had been pilfered, the insurance company had asked me to pay half the amount, and it had taken three days to complete the formalities, during which time I had been compelled to rent a car.
This time, I decided to break the law: I bought the side mirror from a shop selling stolen goods in the Tariq Road area, paying only half of what I would have had to pay if the insurance company had arranged it.
And it took only half an hour, instead of three days.
So it wasn’t such a bad deal.
Of course, if Mr Qaim Ali Shah had done what he was elected to do, like assigning the police to catch those indulging in street crimes, instead of using the cops for his personal use, it would never have come to this pass.
Under the circumstances, can you blame me for breaking the law?


Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, teacher, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/35047/mr-qaim-ali-shah-you-forced-me-to-break-the-law/












 






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