‘You’re not a star until they can spell your name in Karachi’ – Humphrey Bogart
Such was the potential of Karachi that world’s top countries sought to emulate the city’s financial planning schemes. South Korea copied the city’s second ‘Five-Year Plan’ and the World Financial Centre in Seoul is designed and modeled after Karachi. Political disturbance and continued negligence to the city’s problems carved the city, as it stands today – moribund.
The diverse issues that engraved the current Karachi are mentioned below:
Karachi is colossal enough to cause complications to any sitting government; it is almost impractical to administer it as one body. With over 24 million inhabitants living over an area of 3 527 (km-square), it is world’s seventh largest city. If the government whole-heartedly wants to solve Karachi’s problems then they need to take a step – big enough to matter. There is no chance that Karachi can be administered as one body. To control it – Karachi needs to be divided into two separate cities.
One of the many dilemmas faced by Karachi is its sewage problem. Karachi that once used to be the ‘City of Lights’ has now turned into a ‘City of Sewage’. Regularly the streets are blocked due to clogged sewage lines, which were laid for the needs of a limited city space, however with the extension of populace, these lines are too congested to bear the burden and are almost unmanageable. The legislature however tackles singular sewerage problems but on weak premise causing the outcome to be defective and impractical. The lines, which are cleared and rehabilitated today, chock again after a couple of days and in this manner, the filthy water is seen standing all over and causes a number of ailments. The same water blends into the drinking water and spoils it as well. Water is an essential surviving factor, although the Government does arrange clean drinking water but it only does for the areas that scores them the most votes in and as a result most of Karachi is deprived of this luxury while the selected parts enjoy it.
To solve this severe dilemma that’s been haunting the less privileged is to divide Karachi into two separate cities. When the two cities will get an opportunity to develop their own sewage plans and provide their respected citizens with clean drinking water and furthermore unequal funding of selected Karachi will vanish. Development of rural areas would furthermore attract more investments – so much so that more housing schemes will come into being, population may even shift to such areas and thus releasing pressure on the sanitation system.
Although only limited towns in Karachi get their fair share of government financial support but two out of these eighteen towns are deprived of even the slightest rights and developments. Kemari although forms the largest coastline at Hawke’s Bay still lacks the infrastructure needed to level itself with the rest of Karachi. On the other hand Gadap has been ignored just the same. Although both of the areas have mighty potential if concentrated and worked on. They can help solve many of Karachi’s severe population problems. The government has never emphasized upon population distribution of Karachi and as a conclusion, slum areas have taken over most of Karachi. The disordered development of small houses spoil the outlook of the city, as well as creating considerably vital socio-economical problems such as pollution, illegal electric connections, water supply, congestion and ever increasing quarrels and related crimes. The authorities have failed to reclaim the locations from these people and then again packs of beggars can be found everywhere in Karachi. Their attitude is the most irritating problem. They are worthless idlers robbing good-natural people. It has become their regular practice to crowd public spots and then cheat people. The adverse effects of begging problem are noticeable in slum areas. They need jobs to provide for their families. The government has failed the idea of ‘Planned Karachi’ and almost no new heavy employment projects have commenced and small projects that are more suitable to Karachi’s financial situation cannot satisfy the bulk of unemployed. Housing towns over housing towns are being constructed in the more popular areas of Karachi without any notice and congestion and traffic is on the rise at alarming levels.
The most suitable solution is if the city is divided and Gadap and Kemari goes to each of the two proposed wings, the rapid development of these towns along with the allocation of such slum stuck population to these areas can not only reshape the cities back to their former beauty but significantly give rise to the labour forces of Gadap and Kemari, increasing their supply and thus decreasing their wage demands and ultimately attracting more investments because of cheap labour and land. It will strike down the current high unemployment rate that circles Karachi’s economical situation and further increase Karachi’s overall financial performance and the problems of congestion and uneven distribution of population will be history.
Some delusional people may even say that traffic suggests rapid development is taking place. They are undoubtedly wrong. What it really means is that your city can no longer support increasing traffic and it’s not functional anymore. The ever-increasing rush of heavy traffic on the roads is not only wasting people’s time but it’s also resulting in loss of human life. One day or the other, people suffer form accidents due to reckless driving trying to find a way through the burdensome traffic. Traffic jams; road quarrels, untidiness and damage of public property are also a result of this problem. The uncontrollable traffic furthermore produces massive clouds of smoke and improper turned cars fill the atmosphere with deadly smoke at hours of rush which adds to the already huge amount of pollution that’s taken Karachi into world’s most polluted cities list. The blowing of pressure horns is always there, deafening the ears. Although the government has tried solving the problem but there are only a limited number of under and overpasses a city can have.
A city as tremendously populated as Karachi, the government needs to take a comparable huge step to control the metropolis. If the city is divided into two and both the wings get the equal share of business, industrial and social activities then it is commonly assumed that the city’s traffic problems can be controlled significantly as the traffic load is divided between the two cities. The two proposed wings will be able to check the pollution levels more efficiently and the need to build expensive and eye soaring bridges and intersections may not be required anymore.
Karachi is also often subjected to terrorist activities. Bomb blasts and firings at public spots are resulting in great loss of human life. The terrorists deserve no less than capital punishment. It is the duty of the police to intensify their investigation to stop such activities. But let’s face the reality that cascades over Karachi that the law forces cannot control such a gigantic population. It’s impossible, no matter how energetic our police department is – they can just not respond to an emergency soon enough. Our police and army departments are undoubtedly the best in the world but we can’t ask them to do something miraculous every now and then, it’s absolutely absurd.
The city has to be divided. If Karachi is divided into two separate cities with their own defense mechanisms and plans, only then they can work to their full potential. The division of army cantonments and police services will surely bring a positive change in the security situation of the city. The government has to be bold enough to make such a decision.
In short we can say that problems of Karachi are innumerable, people are languishing and are aspiring for a savior who could relieve them from these worries. The savior cannot be anything else but a bill dividing Karachi into two separate cities so that no more Sabris have to die because the government was too afraid to take a big enough step.
Here’s a proposed geographical solution to all of Karachi’s problems:
The only possible solution to all the problems mentioned above is to segregate Karachi into two different cities, namely – let’s assume they’re called East and West Karachi. Now dividing a city into two requires commensurate division of population, economical assets, defense, educational and health institutions along with a number of other equally important factors. Here’s what our geographical division of Karachi looks like:
Karachi currently consists of eighteen towns with most of the population centered in and round the towns of Lyari and Saddar.
Commencing with the proposed East Karachi – as we’re calling it – may consist of three of eight union councils of Gadap Town. Namely – Darsanno Channo, Gadap and Murad Memon with a joint population of 150 000 people according to the 1998 census, Murad Memon being one of the wealthiest and most literate neighborhoods of Gadap Town. The remaining five union councils may be a part of West Karachi. There are over 400 villages in Gadap Town and according to The News International, 357 of these villages are deprived of electricity. Dividing the town between the two proposed cities will enhance their development. The concentrated Malir Town with 600 000 inhabitants (1998 census) may become the second sector of East Karachi that will compute well-planned residential areas and further grant a border with Jinnah International Airport, which is at a distance of almost two miles from Model Colony – one of the neighborhoods of Malir Town. The next important town to join East Karachi may be Muhammad Bin Qasim Town (300 000 population – 1998 census) that is critically a decisive industrial town with over 25 000 acres allocated to industries with the prominent Pakistan Steel Mills situated here that can be a vital source to avowal financial booms in the city. The Port Bin Qasim – part of the town can afford the inhabitants with a considerable platform for business perks and opportunities. The port, when administered properly can become one of the major ports of Asia, remodeling the current financial situation of not only Karachi but Pakistan as well. The town will produce thousands of jobs when developed to its full extent and will directly tackle Karachi’s unemployment crisis.
Jamshed Town with over 730 000 inhabitants is the most populated town of present day Karachi with it’s busiest markets and a number of urban attractions can become a part of East Karachi as well. It can provide the city with the appropriate spending fabric and also produce further thousands of jobs. Aga Khan University and hospital are also located here with many other renowned educational instituitions.
To celebrate the colonial-era Karachi – Saddar may become a part of East Karachi with its delegate and alluring architectural masterpieces and strong textile industries, which will surely associate the new East Karachi to it’s cultural background and also keeping in mind the financial needs of the fresh city. Shah Faisal Town and Landhi Town may also become part of East Karachi, the latter facilitating the city with enormous sum of industrial units with an area over 12 000 acres. The towns will provide the city with enough labour force to generate high incomes.
Three cantonments – namely Karachi, Korangi Creek, a Clifton may be added to the city to provide it with detailed security and convenient transport and residential areas. Clifton being the most developed and desirable residential and commercial area with over 330 000 inhabitants is home to Karachi’s elite class.
Shifting to West Karachi now, the proposed city like East Karachi will be provided with every essential moreover exceptional plans to brighten the current situation that cascades over current day Karachi. East Karachi will consist of the remaining five Union Councils – Songal, Manghopir, Gujjro, Yusuf Goth and Maymarabad. Adding Kemari Town that includes Pakistan’s busiest Port of Karachi will provide the city with husky financial prosperity equally benefiting the locals as well as the people of the whole country if the port is administered properly to it’s full use. 430 acres of industrial land will attract investments on national and international levels and the area has high potential of successfully attracting investments because of the port. Most of Kemari and Gadap Town consist of villages, developing the areas and allocating the slum struck unprivileged to these areas will solve the conjunction as well as many other problems related to population growth as mentioned before in this article. Another town called SITE Town which has grown into the largest industrial area of current Karachi with over 2000 industrial units and 4500 acres of land allocated for industries can provide the city with gigantic employment opportunities furthermore escalating the financial bars to new heights. Baldia and Orangi Towns will provide the city with extended number of prepared residential areas that can be further improved as the city government can properly concentrate on their local problems.
Lyari being the oldest town of Karachi will help the new city to hold on to its cultural ties. The new city will also have the time and means to look into the severe terror dilemmas surrounding the deprived town and the city government with less on their plates will look into these problems more efficiently. Adding North Nazimabad and Liaquatabad will equip West Karachi with a sufficient count of standard hospitals and clinics as well as incredibly adding to the number of upper class educational instituitions. The two towns have the highest literacy rate moreover a comparatively low crime rate; they can provide the city with satisfactory skilled labor and administrators, which undoubtedly is Karachi’s substantial problem.
With the addition of Gulshan Town, West Karachi will have proper office buildings to house its officials and the town furthermore includes Karachi’s largest parks and some prestigious educational centers. Addition of New Karachi Town – a crucial industrial hub with over 800 acres of industrial area and over 690 000 people living there according to 1998 census will fulfill the city’s labour demand and at the same time providing huge industrial opportunities to the locals.
The inclusion of three major cantonments – namely Faisal, Manora and Malir will provide the much needed security and the division will surely make them more efficient. With Faisal Cantonment bordering Jinnah International Airport, the city will get direct access to the airport.
When the resources and funds are divided equally divided between East and West Karachi, the act of unequal spending of resources among the towns of Karachi will be eliminated. One town will not get all the resources meant for all of Karachi and every person will get their share whether they live in Gadap or DHA.
Pakistan’s toxic relationship with mullahism
Many argue that mullahism is a school of thought. It maybe, but only in a world where schools encourage violence against those who beg to differ, those who follow another religion, and those who wear jeans.
There is no concept of priesthood in Islam. There is no criteria of attire or appearance in Islam. And there is no pass to use the name of God for political, social, or financial gains in Islam. How come, one wonders then, the mullah has crept into the very framework of the constitution of Pakistan, so much so, he has the country by her throat?
“Wear a mask if you have to, but mosques will stay open”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the country’s top clerics, holier-than-thou, have refused to close down mosques amid the spread of COVID-19, which has brought the world to her knees – infecting 620,000 and killing 28,000, but why hasn’t the government, one asks himself, rebuffed their imbecile idea?
Mullah school of thought
Many argue that mullahism is a school of thought. It maybe, but only in a world where schools encourage violence against those who beg to differ, those who follow another religion, and those who wear jeans. And a mullah, by definition, is a man who closes his eyes to every atrocity, oppression, and sin in the world except when it causes him discomfort. He is usually identified by his absolute lack of remorse, complete denial of logic, and blind following – not of God, but of those he thinks are closer to God because they wear a beard and abuse the government on live television.
The novel coronavirus
The novel coronavirus is highly contagious and spreads from person to person in close proximity. It has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, which has also asked people to self-isolate in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus. In Pakistan, the coronavirus-related cases have jumped from 7 to 1,408 in mere 19 days and health experts have warned that the cases can top at least 20 million if strict measures aren’t put into place. Although the provincial governments have accelerated their efforts to tackle to the spread of the coronavirus, the center refuses to halt its populist stance.
Bogus party, selection of the most naive
It’s an open secret that Imran Khan could only win the premiership with the help of the invisible force, one of whose election tactics were to establish a bogus far-right political party with so many votes that it wouldn’t win any seats, but would be able to break a decisive section of votes, which would ultimately tilt of the polls in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s favor. The tactic worked and we have a puppet for a prime minister. The bogus party, of course, was Khadim Rizvi’s Tehreek-e-Labaik – a circus of mullahs and men alike, chanting the God’s name to open revolt when asked to.
The ‘intelligent’ Muslim world
The Muslim world, the one where there is intelligent life, has closed their mosques for congregational prayers in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus. In Qatar, the mosques have changed the wordings of the call to prayer, in accordance with Islamic values and history, asking the faithful to pray at home. In Palestine, imams have invited doctors and health experts to give the Friday sermons so that they can help the masses by spreading awareness about the invisible enemy. And in Saudi Arabia, home to two of the holiest sites of Islam, the performance of Omra has been temporarily halted, the holy Ka’abah has been temporarily closed for Tawa’afs, the holy Prophet’s mosque has closed its door for the first time in a while, and it has been reported that the yearly Hajj may not happen.
Too many Khans is too many Khans
When a playboy-turned-politician comes into power through religious votes, there is nothing natural about his selection. Khan simply has too many faces to please and too many favors to repay for him to lead the country of this once-in-a-century pandemic. He cannot disappoint the opportunists from Karachi, he cannot disappoint the right or the left, and he cannot disappoint those in Rawalpindi. Khan, undoubtedly one of the most educated, striking, and honest statesman in the country’s history, has projected one too many fronts to belong to any.
On the other end, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah is making all the headlines Khan should’ve making. Shah, one of Pakistan Peoples Party’s senior-most politicians, has made all the right decisions so far, so much so, he has pretty much saved the country from what could’ve one of its most horrible ends. Shah locked down the country overlooking Khan’s populist sentiments and then he empowered his security forces to enforce them, he made decisive, tough, and striking decisions and was immediately followed in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa – Khan’s strongholds, and most importantly, Shah refused to give one drop of consideration to the mullahs and closed down all mosques and madrasas indefinitely until the end of the pandemic.
All-in-all, if Khan is serious about preventing a blunder, a bloodbath, and a chaos of the highest level, he needs to abandon his alliance with the mullahs and needs to realize that this is not a time to bag votes. The mullahs need to let the reality cascade upon their holier-than-thou-selves and realize that no they are not immune to the novel coronavirus. And the people need to realize that God doesn’t help those who do not help themselves.
To conclude, I would like to narrate Al-Thirmidhi:
“Anas ibn Malik reported: A man sad, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.””
Khan’s incompetence is going to cost us a country
Khan needs to realize that the time to act is now and no amount of Nathiagali walks is going to contain the novel coronavirus that has brought the country to a standstill.
During his first national address concerning the novel coronavirus, unfortunately-Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan stated that the COVID-19 virus, which has until now, infected 200,000 and killed over 8,000 people worldwide isn’t “serious enough” to lockdown the country.
In his national address, coming weeks late in the first place, Khan absolutely failed to convince the country of the government’s plans and strategies to tackle the novel coronavirus. His unruly, disruptive, and unlike-statesman smirks and expressions, once again, left only his sponsees in awe of him, so much so, the social media erupted in praising the one handsome prime minister this country has ever had. Khan deserves the praise, though, for only his visionary self could apprehend spending Rs42 million of taxpayers’ money for the constitution of a digital media wing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the only responsibility of which is to defend the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government over the internet and on social media platforms.
As of Wednesday, Pakistan has recorded at least 245 cases of the highly contagious coronavirus – the highest number of confirmed cases in South Asia, compared with 147 in India, 44 in Sri Lanka, and 22 in Afghanistan. Furthermore, NayaDaur, a Pakistani media outlet, has reported that if the government continues doing the bare minimum, which it is, the cases may rise to over 80,000 by mid April.
In mainland China, the coronavirus has infected over 8,500 people and killed 3,248, in Italy, the coronavirus has infected over 35,00 people and killed 2,978, and in Spain, the coronavirus has infected over 17,000 and killed 767. What Khan needs to understand is that Italy, China, and Spain boast some of the world’s best healthcare systems, furthermore, they are top-tier world economies while Pakistan doesn’t even have enough protective kits to equip their doctors with. Khan also needs to understand that the novel coronavirus is highly contagious and that the new cases will rise exponentially, which means, if simply put, that there will be a need for a lot of ICU beds and ventilators that the country doesn’t have. In figures, Pakistan has 0.6 ICU beds available for 1,000 people while China, Italy, and Spain have 4.2, 3.4, and 3.0 beds per 1,000 people respectively. What Khan needs to understand is that if the government doesn’t take decisive measures now, it will be too late.
Khan refuses to halt his populist stance, so much so, he refuses to visit anywhere without having at least a dozen photographers following him. In a video that Khan posted on his social media profiles, he can be seen observing the state of a quarantine center in DG Khan inquiring about the patients’ health, to which, of course, the patients, or so, answer in all-praises for the management – in this case the PTI’s Punjab government. The patients sing Khan’s name and throw their support behind him to conclude what seemed like a textbook scripted PR stunt. But God works in mysterious ways for the points that the video had scored the Punjab government were quickly balanced out by Sardar Usman Buzdar who, shockingly, is also the ‘Chief Minister’ of the province. According to a Pakistani media outlet Dawn, which also happens to be the country’s oldest and most reliable English newspaper, Buzdar asked such an innocent question that it rocked, rather sunk, the very idea of him leading the fight against the coronavirus. Dawn reported the incident as follows:
“A few days ago Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar received a detailed briefing on coronavirus from relevant experts and officials. The purpose was to provide him all the information he required as the chief executive of the largest province, so he could make the right decisions. At the end of the briefing, the chief minister asked a question innocently: ”Yeh corona kaat-ta kaisay hai?” (how does this corona bite?)”
On the other side of the country, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah is leading the country’s fight against the vicious virus. Shah, 57, holds two masters degrees from Stanford University and is concluded in the list of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) most senior politicians and figures. Shah’s plan is simple: halt the spread of the coronavirus as soon as possible, quarantine all those showing severe symptoms, provide for the families of those quarantined, and isolate and test all those returning home from countries with the most coronavirus cases. To implement his plan, Shah ordered the closure of all educational institutions when the very first coronavirus case was confirmed in Sindh. Later, he ordered to shut down all public monuments, parks, offices, restaurants, beaches, and shopping malls. He set up a 10,000-bed hospital in Karachi, a 2000-bed hospital in Sukker, and isolation centers in all districts of Sindh. Furthermore, he has been thorough in reporting cases, spreading awareness, and containing panic by holding press conferences almost every other day. Shah’s plan has worked out so well that even the World Health Organization (WHO) has applauded his efforts calling his work “the best after (that of) China’s.”
Khan’s team lacks greatly what Shah’s team is doing so wonderfully well, but he still refuses to acknowledge it, so much so, not once has he passed any positive comments Shah’s way nor is he committed to consider Shah’s many suggestions any seriously than he would take anyone’s not wearing boots to go with their suits. Khan is stubborn, weak, and controlled by one too many fronts and so, it is our duty, as citizens of this great country, to question his policies, grudges, politics, and decisions for we have voted him into the office he’s not working hard enough to keep. It is our duty as brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters to make sure our loved ones are taken care of in this testing time. And it is our duty as daily workers, housewives, doctors, and students to fight for our right of survival.
Khan needs to realize that he is the prime minister of not only Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, but also of Sindh, Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgil-Baltistan. Khan needs to realize that the country can only survive this pandemic if it projects a common front, defended equally by all parties of all provinces. And Khan needs to realize that the time to act is now and no amount of Nathiagali walks is going to contain the novel coronavirus that has brought the country to a standstill.
Person of the Decade – Raheel Sharif
Bisouv, in its first public issue, salutes the many achievements of the former Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif.
Through storms of political biases, domestic and foreign insurgencies, and financial and social emergencies, Pakistan has emerged – every time a little stronger. And the people responsible for putting the country in these desperate of situations are plenty and the people responsible for taking the country out of them are, but a few. Bisouv, in its first ever public issue, salutes the latter and in this article, celebrates one of the few – Raheel Sharif.
Currently serving as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, a 39-nation alliance of Muslim countries headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Raheel Sharif, a former four-star general and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) is arguably the most popular COAS in Pakistan’s history. Born in a country, in which to this day all shots are called, directly or in a de-facto martial law-style, by the military, Raheel Sharif was different – a general who ‘could,’ but never did.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S ISSUE: Blinding Justice and a Case of Uniforms
Under his command, the Pakistan Army carried out fierce anti-terrorism operations in North Waziristan in the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which not only stabilized the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA,) but built the foundation for the government of Pakistan to merge the deprived province into Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa (KP.) Sharif was responsible for expanding the role of paramilitaries, mainly Pakistan Rangers, in the coastal city of Karachi – a move that saw an exceptional decrease in the crime rate in the city and later pulled out the city’s name out of the ‘Most Dangerous Cities in the World’ list. Unlike his predecessors, Sharif wholeheartedly supported the democratically elected government in the deprived, and the largest province of Pakistan, Balochistan and buried the hatred that former dictator Musharraf first initiated in 2006. At the request of the Chinese government and after the Pakistan government’s approval, Sharif created a new brigade-level military unit to help protect and secure the many projects under the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC.) Sharif also helped develop Pakistan’s indigenous defence industry, which resulted in the savings of more than $1.14 billion, over a year and half time period
In other feats, under Raheel Sharif, the Pakistan Army operated strictly under its constituted jurisdiction and left foreign, social, and economic policies to the democratically elected civilian government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Under his tenure, Pakistan Army carried out first ever joint military exercises with Russia and supported the government deepen relations with China.
MORE FROM THIS ISSUE: Once a city of gardens, Lahore is now a concrete jungle
Reportedy, Sharif also thwarted a coup attempt in 2014. As disclosed by former United States ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olsen, former head of Pakistan Intelligence Service ISI Zahir-ul-Islam was mobilizing for a coup in September of 2014 during Imran Khan’s infamous Islamabad protest that lasted for months.
“We received information that Zahir-ul-Islam, the DG ISI, was mobilizing for a coup in September of 2014 [during Khan’s protest in Islamabad.] [Army Chief] Raheel [Sharif] blocked it by, in effect, removing Zahir, by announcing his successor,” Olson was quoted in the recently launched book ‘The Battle For Pakistan, The Bitter US Friendship and a Tough Neighborhood’ by Shuja Nawaz in its chapter titling, Mil-to-Mil Relations: Do More. “[Zahir] was talking to the corps commanders and was talking to likeminded army officers… He was prepared to do it and had the chief [Raheel Sharif] been willing, even tacitly, it would have happened. But the chief was not willing, so it didn’t happen.”