By Tariq Mehmood Khattak
The recent rains in Karachi have revealed to us many attitudes of the society. First there is a section of the society who are criticizing the Sindh government as part of their hatred and prejudice of the PPP and have been blaming the PPP for the problems of the city and choas during rains.
The second category is those who declare encroachments to be the cause of rains and urban flooding.
The third category is those who belong to the PTI and today they seem to be blaming the MQM and the PPP for the problems in Karachi in the recent rains.
Then there is a small section in the media whose job is to point out the problems and it is doing its job well to some extent but despite this there are elements within media and on social media who have been mentally very close to the first and third segment of our society as they too are convunced that the wreak havoc by the rains on us is all because of PPP and Sindh Government.
This time in Karachi it has rained at a record level again, the accumulation of water during the rains is a natural consequence and it happens all over the world, because the speed at which water flows in drains and waterways is much lower then the actual speed of rain. If it rains at this speed, it is not possible for water not to accumulate. A 500 mm bottle can’t sustain an amount more than 500 mm.
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The recent rains in Karachi are much more than the infrastructure of the city can afford, but despite this, there was no where water present on main roads of city within 3 to 4 hours once rain have stopped.
This also happens in Lahore, Sydney, Paris, Peshawar, Mumbai that heavy rains result in urban floods as climate change is a threat which needs univeral cure and no country alone can cope up with it. It is not a reasonable attitude to attribute the failure of a government to a natural disaster, but it is a political adventure whose results are not good for the society. It doesn’t even solve the problems, but it does end up in accusations and arguments.
Karachites may have witnessee worst rainfall but again it’s the government and its representative which were there on roads from dawn to dusk to tackle the situation out there.
But Where has been PTI or President of Pakistan who belongs to same city, and dozens of PTI MNAs and MPAs who got crores of rupees in funds from federal government but where these funds have been invested?
Critics of the Sindh government are unable to answer that the area of DHA, Clifton and other cantonments in Karachi, including Shara Faisal, are not under the control of the Sindh government.
Karachites may have witnessee worst rainfall but
again it’s the government and its
representative which were there on roads
from dawn to dusk to tackle the situation out there.
Despite this, the Sindh government widened the roads here and installed drainage system there, which resulted in water being pumped out in a few hours today where rainwater used to stand for weeks. An example of this is Sharah e Faisal in Karachi where the Sindh government widened the road and also laid a better drainage system which proved to be very useful during these rains. Though it was mandate of Faisal Cantonment to make these arrangements and this institution is responsible for all the civic work but again it was PPP government which paved the way for widening of sharah a Faisal and installed a drainage system.
The city of Karachi pays the highest taxes to the country, but which major canal or road has the federal government built here till date? This anti-PPP section is also unable to answer us why the area of Karachi where the cantonment and DHA have built residential areas on rivers and canals is not mentioned by them. Neither they hold them responsible nor even talk of these areas as responsible for making arrangements during rains. Why is the name of the party occupying the lands of this city’s treatment plant not mentioned by these anti PPP elements?
The second category that cites the occupation of rivers and canals as the main reason for urban funding in Karachi, they are true to some extent, but isn’t it true that even in developed countries where there are no encroachment of rivers and canals and no housing schemes on them, they also facing risk of urban flooding.
Because urban funding is more because of climate change. Excessive rainfall is also a factor in climate change. And if it is assumed that urban dwelling on rivers and canals is the only reason for urban funding, then many areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and villages in Balochistan have been submerged in rains where waterways have existed for centuries and someone on a waterway. There are no barriers of any kind. But still they have been facing floods.
The third group that seems to be blaming the PPP and MQM in the recent rains is the PTI. This class has sworn not to tell the truth. A few years ago, this class, on the orders of the Supreme Court, were rejoicing over the award of the contract to clean the drains and rivers of Karachi to the FWO and today it has been saying that drainage and Nullas were nor clear and all because PPP is in power. But same party was praising FWO until few months ago.
Last year some PTI MNAs were seen moving with machinery to clean the drains and Nullas. But the city of Karachi begs the question: if last year they and the FWO had drained and cleaned the drains, where did the garbage from the drains go? One should find out where is the sludge and filth that was taken out by these PTI members and FWO. PTI is all good at making false promises . Karachi did not get even 11 rupees out of the promise made by Imran Khan government to give 1100 billion rupees to Karachi.
PTI has dozens of MPAs and MNAs from Karachi. Dozens of PTI MNA in Karachi were seen only on Twitter and facebook during the rain in karachi, while people from other parties were definitely seen helping the citizens on the streets, including Jamaat-e-Islami.
Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon and Administrator KMC Barrister Murtaza Wahab themselves were seen inspecting drainage arrangements on the streets of Karachi all day instead of in their respective constituencies.
Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and Sharjeel Inam Memon were on the streets of Karachi despite threats of flooding in their own constituencies.
I would also talk about media bias PPP face. As there are a few members of the media who have been seen blaming the PPP for the problem karachites have to face during rains. I ask these gentlemen why are they reluctant to mention the names of those who destroyed Karachi’s Master Plan by allowing massive commercialization in the city?
How is the PPP responsible for Karachi’s problems when Karachi has always given mandate to anti PPP elements? How many times has this city mandated the PPP since 1970? Didn’t those who got the mandate occupy the parks, drains and water treatment plants of Karadhi then how PPP alone is responsible ? Were plots not commercialized during Jamaat-e-Islami tenure ?Has MQM not been in power with PTI for 4 years?
Blaming PPP or any other party is not the way out in fact Karachi is below sea level. It is a natural process for us to have difficulty getting rainwater to the sea.
Karachi’s Nullash and rivers are not able to withstand more than 50 mm of rain.
Karachi needs a better drainage system, but isn’t it a fact that more than half of Karachi’s population will have to demolish their houses for this system? Still name an area in Karachi where the Sindh government has jurisdiction and the rain water stayed their for even 12 hours?
If a city like Paris is not safe from urban flooding, how can Karachi can manage it when its below the sea level. By politicizing rain and natural disasters, we can increase our vote bank, but if the government belongs to anyone and it rains so much, it is not possible to avoid urban flooding. The Sindh government is taking every step for the development of Karachi within its resources. Where there are federally controlled areas in Karachi, 99% development work has been done by the Sindh government. One example is Sharah a Faisal and the other is Cant Station Road. But what did the previous federal government and those enjoying the federal government do to avoid urban flooding in the city? How many water storms were constructed by PTI government? How many water pathways were given funds ? Name any ? They have given billions of rupees funds to their MNA but where have they spent this all money ? Why not a single federal funded project for managing rain water was constructed?
Again we must not do politics of rains and floods as these natural disasters are not in any one’s control and then the problem of flooding in is not only due to overflowing Nullahs and drainage systems, but overburdened drainage, increased population and unregulated construction, buildings constructed without paying any heed to the natural topography and hydro-geomorphology all results in urban flooding. Once again we need to go for making another industrial city somewhere between Karachi and Jamshoro and President Asif Ali Zardari always wanted Zulfiqarabad there so that population and other such issues can be tackled and risk of natural disasters is avoided.
The writer is working as Coordinator to Minister for Local Government and Public Health Engineering Department, Government of Sindh
Twitter : @Tarikkhattak
E-Mail : Tariqkhattak786@gmail.com