Karachi: Karachiites have stressed the lawmakers of Sindh assembly, especially the opposition members, to play a proactive role for solution of lingering civic problems of the city.
Karachiites hoped that the Muttahida Quami Movement in their new role of opposition would raise a stronger voice for the uplift of Karachi and provision of civic better facilities to the citizens.
MQM lawmakers in the last sitting of Sindh assembly had said that they would raise a strong voice not only for the rights of Karachiites but for the citizens of whole Sindh. They said they would not allow the bureaucracy to make mockery of the rights of the citizens. They said in opposition the MQM has no government power, but still it has ample ‘peoples power’ and with this power they would compel the bureaucracy to work for the rights of Karachi and Karachiites.
The citizens opine that the MQM could not play its due role for the betterment of Karachi despite its long tenures in government and due to the reconciliation-based politics they faced certain political compulsions. However, as a strong and vocal opposition in Sindh assembly, the MQM is well poised to get the issues of Karachi solved effectively.
Karachi is the only a mega city of the world that lacks cosmopolitan culture. Presently, Karachi is dominated by the feudal and tribal cultural traits and saving a few posh areas a true cosmopolitan culture could be found nowhere. To make Karachi really an urban city, the MQM would have to play a proactive role to change the public transport culture of the city. Lahore was called a ‘big village’ but Punjab Chief Minister Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif make it an urban center by changing its public transport culture by introducing metro bus service and announcing to work on a metro underground rail project.
Karachi readily posses a complete infrastructure of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and all it needs is the removal of encroachments near tracks, repair of signal system, tracks, rail crossings and availability of the locomotives and rolling stock. The workers and engineers of Pakistan Railway are fully capable to run the KCR system within three months if they are provided with resources. The KCR has been in limbo for decades because the successive governments did not really want to work on it. They just wasted time in confusion between running the existing KCR system and modernizing and upgrading it. In Indian cities the old local rail systems are running successfully and Karachi would be content if the existing KCR system is made functional.
However, they can upgrade it with or without the Japanese or Chinese assistance whenever they want. The first task should be making the existing KCR loop functional. Moreover, the rail track between Landhi and Karachi City station just need locomotives and rolling stock and local trains on this route can be run within a week if there is really a political will.
The city direly needs shifting of intra-city bus terminals from its residential and commercial areas. Two decade back the city government had made plans to establish bus terminals on Superhighway and National Highway but like other Karachi-friendly projects this project was also put on the back burner. It is high time to raise voice for early implementation on it. Similarly, the projects of multi-storied IT Tower near Civic Center, Co-gen plant of DHA, mechanized sweepers of KMC, Saddar car parking plaza of KMC and the pilot project of CNG buses need a serious consideration and early revival.
Karachi has become a dumping ground for road-unfit mini-buses of whole Pakistan. Presently, thousands of minibuses that were banned to ply in Peshawar and other cities of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhuwa due to their road-unfitness have been running in Karachi with impunity. There should be a law that no minibus can run on the city roads if its engine has completed 15 years of its service. The city needs rid of these junk-type smoke-emitting buses and minibuses urgently. Similarly, thousands of Chingchi rickshaws plying in Karachi negate the claim of its being a metropolitan city. This dangerous makeshift public transport should be replaced with wide-bodies buses so that the Karachiies can commute not like goats and sheep but like a respectable urban citizen.
The citizens hope that the MQM lawmakers in Sindh assembly would raise these burning civic issues of Karachi through their questions, resolutions, privilege motions, adjournment motions, call attention notices and private bills so their voters could really enjoy a true cosmopolitan life they duly deserve.
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