Imagine, you are returning from a family event at night, and it has rained, and you turn a corner and the drainage in your area was not covered and your car falls into this. Your car with your kids starts to drown. For argument sake, we assume that the discussed person in this car was a well-connected politician who start calling for relief and the rescue could not reach to help you and your family from that ditch which was supposed to be covered in the first place but was choked and not covered as the contractor didn’t care about the consequences not being from the same area and was only interested in earning money but was supposed to pay a hefty bribe to the government to get the tender in which only 20% of the work can be done . Now let’s assume that ironically you may be connected to the same ruling party but with all the connections you can’t do anything on that horrendous raining night. Eventually, when you get rescued you realize that both of your loving kids are dead due to the inconsideration of the same people you may have supported for so many years blindly maybe due to an abnormality which should not have been there in the first place as you are talking about the largest city of Pakistan and this area under discussion for argument sake is not a slum in the first place. Now imagine, you may choose to blame anyone including fate, but the question must be asked that had you have spoken at the right time today you may be living seeing your capable children grow and maybe become a minister like our current Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Every day would go by with the regret that the same party you supported became a cause of your misery and the same in apathy causes such incidents every few days. Imagine! who would you blame or can blame? The fact remains some people live in deniability and continue supporting the same rot and don’t challenge the question in the first place why such in apathy towards the city which generates almost:
-60% of the country’s revenue
-Contributes at least 60% of the country’s GDP
-55% of the exports
– and if properly counted at least 17% of the country’s population estimated 220 million population.
– 95% of the province’s revenue
Now let’s take it up a notch; assuming that this political personality belonged to the ruling party of Sindh since 2008 called Pakistan People’s Party which claims to be a national party but acts like a Sindhi Elitist Party and have other ethnicities just to sprinkle and cover their tracks or sustain the notion that they remain a national party. Sadly, even their own poor Sindhis are at the receiving end. This party being in power especially after 18th Amendment which gives them enough autonomy which is perhaps more than Sheikh Mujib of East Pakistan asked for in 1964. Yet, we see with all the power at their behest Sindh today is behind decades from anywhere close to be the most prosperous province in Pakistan. Forget Karachi or Urban Sindh which has been set back more than a few decades as Karachi especially is seen as a Cash Cow for these elites and nothing more the city is read “Ripped” every day at the hands of corruption from officers or administrators placed here only to generate personal wealth and nothing more. No loyalty and no empathy towards my beloved Karachi have pushed it more under the line.
Under NFC Sindh government has received more than PKR 12,000 Bn of which they have spent not only PKR 50 Bn in more than a decade they have been in power on Karachi’s development. The lit bit of development for cosmetic purposes we see today astonishingly happens on grants from international donors like World Bank. The question remains Karachi which alone in the last decade has generated more than PKR 30,000 bn as tax revenue for Pakistan gets no share on development and any development done is mostly at the behest of the loans. If you see Mumbai which only contributes 6% of their country’s GDP or revenue or export alone gets over converting to PKR more than 125-150 Bn for development each year and yet struggles.
As I write this over 21,000 cases of street crime alone have been reported in Karachi in first three months. These were 81,000 in 2022 and at the current rate seems that 2023 would be worst for Karachi than 2022. It seems that the city is being punished for not voting PPP. Recently, concluded LB bodies elections with all their might, people, money and being in the government and deceitful claims of developing the city not forgetting the rigging people of Karachi didn’t even give more than 35% of the seats to PPP. We must keep in mind one of the main stakeholders of the city that is MQM boycotted the elections and the disgruntled and disenfranchised voters on top decided not to vote for the remaining three contenders where the vote count could not even cross One Million between PPP, PTI and JI. This alone is an indication to the state of the direction of sense of their largest taxpayer city which seems to be giving up of the notion of justice though suffering from broken roads, no drainage system, no water, no security, no jobs in the government sector, no new universities or hospitals and on top of which rising taxes and inflation for no fault of their own.
Sometimes the question comes to my mind that has out of the sense of necessity or under black mail for saying “Pakistan Khappay” has left Urban Sindh and especially Karachi under the wrath of Zardari as a cost surrendering to the black mail. Further, Karachi’s political representation has been persecuted, vanished, executed, demonized and exiled in the name of national security which the city’s populace voluntarily out of love of Pakistan supported by ditching the anti-state elements within them. The consequence of this vacuum was the gift of a cocktail of PTI and PPP who on the face were seemingly opponents without any serious opposition as MQM was marginalized. The question remains in the hearts and minds of the city of Karachi, and you may see them getting dis-enfranchised each day. The result of this what may become should not be seen as a threat but as a warning of things may turn out to be if nothing is done to control the upheaval of those who belong to this city.
When I say belong to the city. I don’t only mean the majority living here that is 45% plus Muhajirs but equally the Pashtuns and Seraiki’s which many say are more in numbers in Karachi than any other city in province of KPK or Punjab respectively. Baluchs who are indigenous population of this city, our Punjabi brethren who are living here for so long that their posterity can’t even speak Punjabi properly. Even Sindhis inclusive of likes of Bilawal and family who were born and brought up here in this city instead of Larkana, Nawabshah, Sukkur or Hyderabad. But ironically, PPP has just played the politics of driving a wedge between the majority living in Karachi and the state instead of using its powers productively. They have not only failed in Karachi sadly but in interior Sindh as well.
The above summary was important to make readers understand why the issue of Census has become a matter of being called a “Red Line” for the people of Karachi where the rightful counting is a constitutional right for every citizen of Pakistan including Karachi, but it looks like there are a certain set of rules for the city as some in establishment are afraid of antagonizing Sindhi elites of Sindh or possibly under the threat of SindhuDesh. Instead of handling them with iron hand they are being accommodated and given access to power and nation’s resources at the cost of disenfranchising the most patriotic community of Karachi who is the biggest sufferers of this. The same community “Muhajirs” who sacrificed all to make this nation and stood ground instead of doing adjustments to safeguard their assets, wealth and power and migrated to Pakistan. It seems that the community is being punished to the wall if not the Arabian Sea as threatened by Sindhi Nationalists when the community demands rights.
What is the Sndhi elitist PPP afraid of if the census goes right? The recent statements from these nationalists on behest of the Sindh government as well as the letter from CM Sindh on seeing the correction whilst he remained quiet when the census was being hijacked by their actions where no support was given to staff like security or logistics conducting the census apart from rigging the tablets and data count show that they are accomplice on looting the city’s rights as the city gets looted of their valuables each day thanks to their managed police and their officers. They are mainly afraid that their seats in the province would go down if right counting of Karachi results in 45% of the Sindh’s population where they would lose their birthright control over Karachi as city can see CM coming from there and correct the status quo like correct implementation of the article 140 A so that the local bodies get the right powers under PFC award and would enable the local representation be it off any ethnicity take over command over the city’s governance. Sindhi elitist PPP is afraid that once triggered they would lose control of this cash cow and perhaps would not be successful in keeping the largest economic hub of Pakistan crippled so that the nation is always dependent on IMF, and they can lobby vide their stooges sitting in US like Hussain Haqqani and black mail Pakistan to keep them in power. The weaker is Pakistan economically and with their strong lobby in western corridors in power they could black mail the state as they do now else, they would threaten with SindhuDesh.
The establishment can easily undo this Catch 22 situation they face where it is “Damn if they do and Damned if they don’t” by getting the facts right and the first step is counting the city right which comprises of all the ethnicities (a mini-Pakistan) and stop getting blackmailed by these Sindhi Elitists or Nationalists.
Once MQM built momentum to get the counting right and exposed the flaws like the uncounted buildings, lower number of houses in Karachi/Hyderabad (187) in each bloc where the same blocs were higher than 250 in much thinly populated interior Sindh. The notion of over 25% population growth in interior Sindh which is marred by malnutrition and infant mortality whilst Karachi population growth by a mere 11-12% where not only there is organic growth due to births but also migration from other cities into here. When these facts were brought to notice not to forget Nadra’s own record claiming living residents to be approx. 19.2 Mn and K electric or SSGC records showing over 3.4 million registered households alone in the city not forgetting the illegal connections the city has which has been a bane of the argument by utility providers for their shortages in both revenues and supplies. No way the organic population could been lower than the 25 million marks. Now add to it the Bengalis, Afghanis and Burmese who are not allowed CNIC the city crosses 30 million marks. This simply means that as city not only gets bigger share in the seats but also monies under PFC as well as explained above. This increase in proportional population would also help Sindh’s share in the NFC as Sindh’s population would become higher percentage wise but it doesn’t matter for them as their dominion control as a Colonists over Urban Sindh that is Karachi and Hyderabad is their only and only priority and depriving and treating the majority as second grade citizens under their rule.
The state’s establishment must realize that the indicators in lack lustered interest in any democratic process as disenfranchised populace needs a new social contract in Sindh to avoid further sense of deprivation. What those alternates could be if the “Red Line” of this census is crossed can be well imagined.
Hats off to MQM and their leadership for standing ground with all the pressure especially after re-uniting their ranks with patriots. This is the strength which PPP was always afraid of and connived to curtail to keep the vacuum to abuse their position in Sindh. The status quo must change for the betterment of the people and Pakistan. This blackmailing by Sindhi elitists/nationalists must stop. A prosperous Karachi would be the best defense against such rhetoric’s and threats trust me.