Nowadays, when you browse through every channel or social media where any one is speaking their minds out about the despair the city of Karachi is in especially after recent rains the most favorite excuses we get here by the two ever ruling parties of Sindh and Karachi that is PPP and MQM is after they finishing accusing each other of non-delivery (though they are allies today or have been allies in the past many times) is that there are not enough funds, there are not enough resources or there not enough powers under the constitution etc etc.
For a common man, these are just excuses but as both of these that is the allies PPP and MQM collude so beautifully; the poor man ends up buying the narrative without realizing that these two are allies as well as have been allies many times in the past. Ironic isn’t it.
After recent rains, many pro governments mouth pieces including journalists have been heard drawing contrasts to floods or similar tragedies in other parts of the world without mentioning that whilst the others may be act of God. Karachi suffers due to Act of PPP and its allies (the failure to deliver the goods in the city).
I would try to relate the arguments which I have gathered most of the times by both PPP and MQM for their non-delivery and also, I would like to cover PTI here as well as they held majority National and Provincial seats in the 2018 elections. I would then leave the readers to establish their narrative however, its key to remember some facts as you evaluate:
PPP Side of story for not delivering
After PPP gained government in 2008 thanks to an NRO on intervention of a foreign country; the first thing they did after they settled in was how to dismantle anything good which has happened to Karachi and Sindh’s Urban centers. The objective was not definitely ensuring to develop Rural centers of Sindh otherwise they would have been developed in 2023 (this could be seen if one travels to cities like Sukkur and even Nawabshah or Larkana today).
Immediately in the name of Sweet Revenge of democracy a committee was formed to look into the constitutional amendments in the name of reducing the probability of any future martial laws. Whilst, doing it they ended up imposing their own version of martial law on the people when they instead of strengthening the basic pillars of any democracy that is the “Local Bodies system” first stopped it starting Karachi, then started to dismantle it. After this transferred everything into the provincial government. Ironically, knowing their history or may say out of selfishness all the political parties including those in Karachi signed it without any protests. Once signed the dismantling of cities infrastructure commenced as again local representation started to get edged out only to be replaced by favorite officers from interior Sindh who just see Karachi as a “Cash Cow” and nothing more.
In 2013, they passed the Sindh local bodies amendment Act http://www.pas.gov.pk/uploads/acts/Sindh%20Act%20No.XLII%20of%202013.pdf
where the main agenda was to usurp any powers which the basic of tier of democracy in Karachi may get. The reason was simple that mainly Karachi and especially Sindh’s urban centers don’t vote for them and perhaps this was done to swallow down all financial resources as well as coerce people of urban Sindh to vote for PPP. It’s been almost 10 years since this happened. The party still struggles to get the mandate. To cut short the new local bodies elections are pending and postponed. Some say, these got postponed after the devastation after rains which meant both PPP and its ally MQM getting wiped out, some say it was to stall PTI’s re-emergence on the political scene after recent victories in Punjab and failure of Zardari to demonstrate that he is the king maker in Pakistan, and some say simply that these elections may never see the light of the day.
The city currently is run unconstitutionally by an Administrator by the same party who chides being beacon of Democracy globally as the elections are awaited. After protests mainly by JI and PSP which followed by a judgement by the outgoing Chief Justice of Supreme court to empower local bodies
Committees were formed convincing parties to withdraw protests. It’s been more than 6 months since any reforms are pending.
MQM Side of the story for not delivering
The biggest excuse MQM makes it that it doesn’t have power. This was perhaps an acceptable excuse when MQM rose in the 80’s but after they collaborated in coherence with their party chief Altaf Hussein who became best buddies of Asif Zardari after the later visited him in London. Two of MQM’s legislators were even given Nishan-e- Imtiaz and signed 18th Amendment as their second mistake; the first being their ally in 2008 government both in National and Provincial government. Their mistake was to trust the same PPP which just a little over a decade ago killed hundreds if not thousands of MQM workers in extra judicial killings. Once this was done; suddenly Karachi saw unrest and rise of again ethnic killings. MQM’s third mistake was to remain in power even after seeing all this and seeing the power slipped away from them. Same MQM which used to stall city for petty issues like if someone joked about the erroneous behavior of their leader who was going through psychiatric treatment at that time. They never took a stand and played along.
In 2013, after re-elections; when PPP passed amendment as shared above still didn’t come out though they had their governor who infact endorsed it. The public again gave them a chance for the City Mayorship under Wasim Akhtar whose memorial acts are that in wake of garbage issue almost surrendered the task to PSP’s leader Syed Mustafa Kamal and then throwing a file of God knows what and shedding crocodile tears but never resigned and participated in destroying the city and forgetting that it was them who gave these powers to PPP. Still, they didn’t protest surely out of collusion as many videos appeared on social media showing the same.
Today, MQM again is gearing up for elections. Let’s discuss their recent blunder of siding with PDM some other day but the baggage of failure may drown them as people would remember the pain, they have gone through due to their policies let alone the division seen in their rank and file due to the lack of leadership infighting across the board.
PTI side of the story
There is blame on PTI too though I would say that they didn’t do any harm to the city like the other too. Though with their 14 seats in the National assembly they could have put a lot of pressure though they were active in the provincial assembly as opposition to PPP where MQM was seen as a silent spectator most of the times. It should be noted that they created enough pressure that they got Karachi extra electricity of over 1000 MW from National grid, got the K4 restarted as well as pushed things against the wishes of PPP on the BRT.
But it sometimes felt that their central leadership is not keen on Karachi. The smaller number of visits by Imran Khan and that too for short durations was a big disappointment and more presence could have put more pressure but nevertheless a big gap was visible. MQM also blames PTI for not delivering on their agreement and yes, PTI has much to answer on that.
Imran Khan recently accepted that he was coerced to not take any action against PPP. I am sure he learned and lesson and should know where to start from in next term when get power if he defeats all the odds.
The funny part is that PPP and MQM blame PTI for doing nothing whilst they are being the main culprits themselves.
A few months ago. I heard an interview of the CM Sindh drawing contrasts with Mumbai and its floods without realizing that Mumbai contributes less than 6% to the Indian GDP, exports as well as Taxation still get approx. PKR 120 billion for development which is almost 90% of the state of Maharatshara perhaps the leadership of the ruling party there is from the same city unlike coming to work during the week from rural areas.
He forgot to perhaps realize that Karachi alone is a city which contributes 70% of the taxation, 55% of the exports and off the GDP as well as 95% of the revenue collected by the Sindh Government. The city post passing of the 18th amendment has generated over PKR 32,000 Bn of revenue for Pakistan and out of which under NFC the Sindh government got PKR 11,000 Bn over this period and the actual expenditure on the city’s development in the last over a decade has been approx. PKR 40 Bn (I am not talking about allocations). No major infrastructure project was started or completed by PPP government. Be it K4 (all 3 phases to supply 650 Mn mmcfd water supply to the city), be it KCR, be it BRT, be it building new universities even in Hyderabad, be it the garbage issue or any major roads or bridges. They just believe in gulping down everything and blaming on top of it that the city doesn’t vote for them though they control all the money and the positions. Ironically, people still trust them and sign agreements with them like MQM and to do what bring down the same government where they have been in power with for a party which has stabbed them in the back at least half a dozen times politically since their inception.
Hence it shows that MQM can’t be trusted anymore along with PPP.
If you ask me the blame would be on PPP would be 60% of what we face today. MQM being 30% for their complacency and atrocious politics. 10% would be with PTI where they could have done more but didn’t using the PSDP etc.
The crux is that the city needs a new leadership representing it perhaps a coalition as the recent elections are clearly showing that the voters in the city are divided and confused. But what they should realize that when it rains, and it drowns. It’s all of them irrespective of what ethnicity they are off. When the water dries up and sewage chokes up and garbage piles up. It’s always the same. Perhaps, they should vote someone who owns and understands Karachi and is indigenous of nature to build Karachi back and Inshallah Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabad!