Rains definitely came as a boon for the heat-stricken Karachiites, but its fall-out turned it into a bane. Roads were inundated in ankle to knee deep water, traffic jams were perhaps worst in recent memory, power breakdowns and water shortage of the order of 740 million gallons forced residents to ponder whether they needed another Mustafa Kamal to re-order their city, of whether an indecisive chief minister should be given marching orders
Years ago, Benazir Bhuto during informal meeting with this scribe in Dubai had expressed her no-confidence in Qaim Ali Shah, and without a moment’s hesitation , responding to a question as to why did she transfer the responsibility of Sindh PPP presidentship fom Shah to Nisar Khuhro, replied that the former was good for nothing. “He sits over judgement , Salahuddin. Does’nt take decisions” she fixed her eyes on my face, and then went on to say that “if I have to look after everything then whet is the fun of having a party president in Sindh. I am flooded with complaints from workers and the likes about his lethargic attitude. I had no options but to remove him and make Nisar incharge of party affairs”.
Same is true even for today. It was really amusing to see in TV news that Shah, now chief minister of the province, had summoned a meeting on rain emergency when damage from the outpour had already been done. Is it the correct way of running the affairs of the government? The question becomes automatically relevant as to whether this could be called an Ostrich-like attitude.
Widespread rains were predicted by the Met office atleast two weeks ago, or perhaps much before that. The Mayor-designate of Karachi, Waseem Akhtar kept shouting at the top of his voice, than the drainage system in the city, had been filled with filth and dirt, and if immediate measures were not taken, Karachi will suffer heavily by the monsoons.
Fears came true, and roads, streets, and bye-lanes were inundated from ankle to knee deep water by drizzles and when it rained cats and dogs Monday night, and again on Tuesday. Ponds were seen in low lying areas. In quantum terms, rains were not very severe—just half to one a half inches from Share Faisal, Airport, to PAF bases in Mauripur, and localities like Defence and Clifton, I.I.Chundrigar, Khardar, Saddar, North Karachi, Liaquatabad, Nazimabad, Lyari slums, Name any area and deluge was there.
Water had become scare, and K-Electric, reported 250 of its 1400 feeders tripping in such small outpour.
Gharo and the Dhabeji pumping stations were without power, and the result was a shortfall of 740 million gallons of water a city, overcongested and over-populated. Traffic jams became the order of the day. Almost all main roads and thoroughfares were paralysed, vehicles taking hours together to carry their passengers to their respective destinations.
Much more amusing was an announcement from chief secretary, Sindh Mushtaq Memon who summoned his officers just a day before the monsoon was to set in,gave their instructions, but was’nt it going through the motions. Commitment was lacking at every step of the State governance.
That raised a valid point here. What had former mayor, Mustafa Kamal really had done to remodel and redesign the city, re-eningeered its roads for smooth flow of traffic to all corners of a city which had seen crowded streets, and where under-passes, fly overs, and network of modern roads, had uplifted the face of Karachi.
He had all nullahs and drainage cleaned up of the hurdles blocking the smooth outflow of rain water. Even two houses of important people were demolished in posh Clifton area. Rains came when he was still holding the reigns, but Karachi looked like a new city. City roads were instantly dry after the rainfall. But now that the drainage system had been left unattended for years, such crisis was bound to occur.
Citizens are asking whether Karachi needed another Mustafa Kamal. Sindh government, its ministers and civil servants working under them, are totally clueless, lacking commitment simultaneously which made things worse.
If Qaim had failed to prove himself worth of the job, the demand for imposing Governor’s rule on the province, will be 100 percent justified. Karachi can not be allowed to be victim of deliberate neglect.It is the wage earner for the federal government and for the Sindh administration. Why then a step-motherly treatment with a city like that? The question demands quick and speedy answer.