Karachi: Unplanned urbanization in Karachi is the major factor of land grabbing, civic issues and ethnic polarization, as haphazard spread of the city helps formation of new population pockets on linguistic and ethnic lines, said speakers of a moot here.
Shura Hamdard Karachi meeting here Thursday evening discussed the unplanned urbanization in Pakistan particularly in Karachi and urged the Sindh government to chalk out a master plan for Karachi and implement it in shortest possible time as most of the colonies were inhabited in Karachi without planning which created a cluster of civic problems and segregated the city on ethnic lines.
The meeting was held on the theme: “Spreading of cities and socio-economic problems, presided over by Haziqul Khairi, former Chief Justice, Federal Shariat Court, Islamabad at a local hotel. Mrs. Sadia Rashid, President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan was also present at the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, Engineer Islam Nabi, former federal minister for production said that unlimited extension of cities always created great socio-economic problems and Karachi was the best example of it. This city gave 70 per cent revenue to government but in return received meagre amount for its development and welfare and as a result of this treatment many mafias had flourished which became like incurable wound, he added.
He said that tanker mafia was supplying filthy water to Karachiites and creating stomach and kidney diseases among the people while kunda mafia compelled the honest consumers to pay the amount of its 30 per cent theft electricity through their bills as KESC included this amount in bills in the name of different taxes, duties and meter rent.
He suggested that electric meter fast calibration be made compulsory by an independent body and further said that the only answer of Karachi transport problem was construction of subway and flyover transport system.
Justice (retd) Haziqul Khairi was of the view that the one or two percent state duty, which was imposed on the property and assets of a wealthy deceased when they were going to be distributed among his/her heirs in British days and continued in Pakistan 2 or 3 years after 1947, be imposed again now in order to increase government income. He also paid rich tribute to Arid Shir Cowasji for his services to Pakistan, humanity and Karachi.
Engineer Anwarul Haq Siddiqui said that Karachi was a mega city, having population more than 34/35 countries of the world. Being mega city its problems should be solved on the pattern of Istanbul, Turkey as the Turks had made planning for it up to 2050.
The solution of our socio-economic problems lies in education, but it should be job oriented and be able to create expertise and skills among our youths who constitute 60 per cent of our population, he said adding, the irony of Karachi was that this city had no master plan and it was the result of feudal mindset, the root cause of all country’s ills.
Prof. Dr. Akhlaque Ahmed suggested that an association of consumers should be formed in order to raise voice for them. There was no census, taken place in the country since 1998. Lands, roads, shops and transports of Karachi were grasped by mafia of different type. Social evils were rampant and weapons holders had acquired controlling authority. Good governance and civic sense could control this situation but without mass education civic sense could not be created in the country, he added.
Professor Muhammad Rafi suggested that small courts should be set up in each district to resolve disputes and problems on local basis and administration be made localized.
Haq Nawaz Akhtar said when all facilities of employments, health and education were heaped up at the cities, village people of all over the country were bound to amass at cities. There were many empty places and natural ports in Balochistan, but industries were not set up there. It was the need of the hour that opportunities of employments and basic needs should be created in rural areas to avoid the overflow of village population to cities, he added.
Col (retd) Mukhtar Ahmed Butt said that no one took the ownership of Karachi City and lack of planning made the city a problematic place to live in.
Commodore (retd) Sadeed Anwar Malik was of the view that problems of Karachi were the result of unemployment, lack of planning, health and education facilities and polarization.
Shamim Kazmi, Dr. Mohammed Amir Ta’asin and Anwar Aziz Jakartawalla also spoke.