My 10-Point suggestions for Karachi

By Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Sydney Australia

An ordinary mind can understand that a system which has been built on divisions, discrimination, and corruptions cannot be fixed by targeted operations, reshuffling of administration heads, and reallocating powers from one law enforcement agency to another.

I Love Karachi

Indeed, Karachi’s problems are multidimensional today but root-cause of these problems are 40 years old unjust and corrupt system. The seeds of this unjust system were sew through the implementation of Quota System by the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s PPP government through in the government jobs and professional educational institutes dividing Sindh on the basis of linguistic demographic on the name of providing opportunities to the people rural areas. Karachi’s problem is an administration failure due to corrupt and incompetent officers working now almost in every government departments including judiciary and police. This corrupt system and its management are composed of corrupt, prejudiced and incompetent officers who are the product of corrupt politicized and discriminative system not only in Karachi but in entire Sindh and that Quota System played a vital role beside elements of corruption.

These racist and corrupt landlords-cum-politicians especially from Pakistan Peoples Party Sindh claims that everyone in Sindh, Sindhi or Urdu Speaking are equal and Sindhis, then how can they justified the fact that:

  • Chief Minister of Sindh cannot be an Urdu or non-speaking
  • Topo level government officers in Police, Income Tax, Interior Ministry, Education, Health in Sindh cannot be Urdu-speaking

How come these major key political parties, PPP, PML (N), MQM and ANP who, at one time or another playing blame on each other, and then singing a chorus of bringing peace in Karachi?

My answer is simple; these political organs in Sindh and ruling force have been failed to provide peace and harmony to the citizens of Karachi. And unfortunately, Pakistan army is failed to launch a crackdown against them.

They called it a democracy and their democratic system in Sindh, where Chief Minister of Sindh is decided by a person sitting Dubai – Asif Ali Zardari – the most corrupt person Pakistanis have ever experienced. The entire Sindh government is running through his decision.

From PML (N)-led government’s operation of 1992 in Karachi that delivered extra-judicial killings of hundreds of people and made MQM stronger and a party of victims to Benazir Bhutto’s operation clean-up led by Naseerullah Babar that also ended with thousands of arrest and hundreds of extra-judiciary killings and made further MQM a voice of Urdu-speaking, then almost 10 years rule of MQM in Karachi in General Musharraf’s, and today the most corrupt and criminalized government of Sindh failed to provide basic needs and security to an ordinary citizen of Sindh. These corrupt political mafia have always put up their vested interest first and peoples’ interest at the end. PPP a party of the landlords in Sindh could not change the life of an ordinary Sindhi in rural Sindh, MQM a party that was created on the name of delivering basic rights to the Urdu-speaking of Sindh could not fight to abandon quota system, PML (N) who failed to maintain any voting mandate in Sindh and claimed a national party, and a Karachi wing of ANP which could not deliver for the betterment of hard Pushtoon labour in Karachi except exploit them on the name of Pushtoon Quom (nation) have just dividing the ordinary citizens of Sindh.  These key political players in Sindh politicized the entire government machinery in Sindh and the administration & local government system is in the hands of political criminals and blackmailers.

We all understand that unjust and unfair means of running a system of government create corrupt and incompetent administration and this has what been happening in Sindh for the last 40 years. There is unbelievable corruption in Police, Income Tax, Custom, KPT, PIA, Karachi Steel, autonomous bodies, Local Governments and Judiciary System that an honest person cannot survive to work there. A father cannot make a birth certificate of his new born child without paying a bribe to a council’s clerk, so how can you provide justice, fairness and a clean environment to that child to grow and be a responsible citizen of the state. A city where no jobs for educated youth, no safety for an ordinary citizen on roads, where bread is expensive than a bullet how can you expect peace and harmony in there and how can targeted operations and raids can resolve the problems. Even, now they cannot clean the streets of Karachi – this is purposely being done in order to further agitate the ordinary citizen of Karachi so that they can come out on street and these criminalized and racist police can kill them like animals.

How can target killings, looting and shooting can be controlled the Sindh Police which is the production of corrupt system. Many criminals have been arrested by the rangers on spot and found them as in service policemen. That is why this targeted rangers’ operations have failed and will continue to fail until the entire system is cleaned from corruption and unjust system. But the most danger scenario now is that these gangsters have deeply rooted links with powerful political and other forces and the chances are if rangers attack on them they will repulse badly and that may lead to a civil war type situation which perhaps may be the ultimate plan of the elements behinds these gangsters in Karachi.

As for as the solution for Karachi, it is not something complicated or beyond any resolution. In my suggestion, Karachi’s administration should be based on other international cities in the world and that is:

  1. There should be Karachi Police Metropolitan Police headed by Karachi Police Commissioner. All police appointments including Police Commissioner must be from Karachi and all recruitment should be done through a fair and clean merit system. Further, Karachi Police should introduce a local community police system like running in most of the international cities including what I have seen in Sydney. This will control small to heinous crimes happening at present.
  2. All the entrance to the city of Karachi must have police check-points equipped with latest monitoring system and operated by Karachi Security Police (which should be a branch of Karachi Police) and every non-citizen of Karachi entering Karachi must be recorded.
  3. The City of Karachi should have a strong and independent ‘City Government’. The head of city government should be the mayor of the City of Karachi (the system is running at present but it is very much politicized, disable and incapable). The City should have an effective and permanent local body system that should have its own budget in different heads of running the affairs of the city and this budget should be independent of the provincial budget. All the international and developed cities of the world have its own development and operational budget.
  4. The power of Karachi’s Mayor is equal to the Chief Minister of the Province who should make the decision independently without the pressure of the any provincial or federal power in the best interest of the City.
  5. The City of Karachi should have a ‘City Court System’ where every suburb or local council should have its city court – like in every international city of the developed countries. These courts should deal with local disputes and crimes. All the staff of these courts should be appointed on merit but from the local permanent citizens.
  6. To provide better opportunities and incentives to the business community, a city tax should be introduced on local businesses and industries. The revenue generated from this tax should be spent on the development of infrastructure of Karachi especially, roads, highways, under-passes, local train/tram system. Karachi cannot bear that 60 percent revenue is generated from this city and the rest of the province and country enjoy on this revenue. It is to be ensured that whatever is earning from Karachi is spending on this city if we have to see Pakistan growing as Karachi is the main blood vessel of Pakistan.
  7. The Karachi City budget should be separate with the provincial budget and must be allocated by major parts from provincial government and some part by federal government as this city feed to the province as well as the country. There should be no interference of provincial or federal government on the spending from the budget and it is spent by the city government.
  8. The City of Karachi should have a ‘City Security Council’ which should consist of the top heads like; Karachi Mayor, Karachi Police Commissioner, Inspector General Police of the State, Chief Minister and the Governor, this high command body should act promptly and make ultimate decision if the City faces any man-made or natural crises. The Council should have direct link and access to the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan for any important consultation or crises.
  9. All the appointments in government and semi-government and admissions in higher education/professional institutes should be made on merits. Ideally, the quota system of Sindh Urban & Sindh Rural should be abandon which would automatically abolish the existing discrimination between the people of Sindh.
  10. The appointments, transfers, and promotions in the federal institutes in Karachi for example; KPT, PIA, Shipping Authority, must be done on merits through a proper qualifying system on all Pakistan-basis.

(The writer is a Sydney-based journalist and a political analyst)