Editor’s Note: September 2016
Is this for real? Will this be the shape of things to come in the Karachi of the future?
And, more importantly, what about the city’s myriad other problems — water, electricity, waste management, etc — that still remain unresolved?
Sindh has a brand new chief minister — young, energetic, and on the move. Yet the garbage heaps still don’t move — and one is not talking Lyari or Orangi, but the posh Clifton area.
The councillors have taken oath, as have the deputy mayor and mayor. But whether the powers and the funds will be handed to those whose job it is to address Karachi’s assorted problems, is a moot point.
According to some sources, the PPP government is determined to keep both, clout and cash, in its own hands.
To what end?
A news report on a local channel ran a revealing documentary on Larkana, the hometown of two former prime ministers — Z.A. Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. Dilapidated roads, overflowing gutters, stagnant sewerage water, abandoned stadiums, broken solar lights — a picture of total neglect. And it is not for lack of funds. Reportedly Rs. 90 billion were granted to the Sindh administration to implement various development schemes under the Annual Development Project. Incidentally, a petition has been filed in the Sindh High Court, accusing PPP’s leading lights of embezzling Rs. 12 billion that had been allocated specifically for the development and beautification of Larkana. So where did all the money go?
Perhaps our roving former President, currently stationed in Dubai, or his all-powerful sister parked in Sindh can enlighten us on that one.
Meanwhile, stories of a mansion in Surrey, a palace in Dubai, properties in London’s Park Lane, owned by one or other Pakistani politician, continue to break at regular intervals.
It’s all work, or rather, wealth in progress. And the more hands — in the till — the better.
A former chief secretary of Sindh, who regaled the media with stories of the PPP’s corruption, has jumped the PML-F ship and hopped onto the PPP bandwagon — because his party was “non functional.”
But all is not lost. From a small village in the Punjab comes a heart-warming story. Its population of 1000 or so residents decided en masse not to vote for PML-N candidates in the recent by-elections for a Punjab Assembly and a National Assembly seat.
They said they were tired of the PML-N’s empty promises before every election. They wanted electricity, water, proper roads and schools — not motorways and metro trains.
Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.
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