President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, while expressing strong resentment over the miseries and hardships suffered by Karachiites after Friday evening’s torrential rainfalls, criticized the Federal and Sindh government for their sheer failure to provide any relief to Karachiites who have always been the worst-hit victims of the heavy rains, natural calamities, epidemics, law & order incidents, accidents and other emergencies.
“Karachi, despite being the largest city contributing around 70 percent and 95 percent revenue to the federal and provincial exchequers respectively, has been frequently facing a lot of damages every year during the monsoon season yet not a single step has ever been taken neither by the federal nor by provincial government to minimize the hardships except for paying just lip service that has turned the living in Karachi into a terrible nightmare”, he said, adding that Karachi has been left alone mercilessly as no attention is being paid to some of its most serious and pressing infrastructure-related issues that have given a taste of hell to Karachiites.
Agha Shahab particularly slammed all the politicians from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which remained in power since 2008 and also the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which has always been a strong ally and part of the governments from time to time since 1999 throughout Musharraf’s regime, PPP government from 2008, PML-N government in 2013 and now the PTI government since 2018. “PPP has been in power since last 13 years, of which they remained in command at the federal and Sindh governments during 2008-13 while the MQM has been enjoying various ministries since last 21 years but none of them bothered to do anything and they largely ignored the issues of Karachi which has been plunged into deep crises during the last two decades yet this great city survives somehow only because of its potential and the steadfastness of the business & industrial community. “Thank you very much Peoples Party and MQM for doing such a fine job for Karachi”, he criticized and urged all political parties to stop politics over the economic issues and let the business community focus on their work instead of staying tangled in dealing with civic, utilities and infrastructure issues all the time.
He pointed out that it was really worrisome to see that the city’s infrastructure has deteriorated to such an extent that it is not even capable of sustaining the rainfall that lasted for just one-and-a-half hour but the miseries for Karachiites continued throughout Friday night as the public initially remained stranded for many hours on the streets due to severe traffic jams caused by inundated roads which was followed by the blackout in many areas throughout the night because of KE’s incompetence.
He said, “The business & industrial community of Karachi has been paying billions of rupees in shape of taxes, duties, levies etc. to the federal and provincial governments but we are not receiving anything in return. Globally, taxes are paid so that these funds could be utilized on the development of infrastructure and provision of amenities but unfortunately, it has never been the priority of any government as far as Karachi is concerned which continues to receive merciless treatment and remains deprived.”
He was of the opinion that Karachi suffers badly due to lack of master plan, ineffective civil administration system and poor coordination between Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) and K-Electric in rapidly and efficiently dealing with various issues emerging after the rain. “Keeping in view the rising population and size of Karachi, there is a dire need to devise long term strategy which must cater to the city’s existing and future requirements for the next 20 years”, he stressed.
As the Monsoon season has just begun and more rainfalls have been forecasted, hence President KCCI suggested that active and well-equipped ‘Rain Emergency Centers’ in all five districts of the city should immediately be established where workers of KMC, KWSB and K-Electric must remain deployed round-the-clock to assist the public and quickly resolve rain related issues. Furthermore, these Rain Emergency Centers should be well-equipped with necessary machinery particularly water pumping machines in order to quickly clear standstill rainwater from the streets so that smooth flow of traffic could be ensured during the ongoing Monsoon season, he said, adding that KMC, K-Electric, KWSB and other civic departments must make coordinated efforts to minimize the grievances likely being faced by the public.
President KCCI hoped that the federal and provincial governments would pay attention to the issues being faced by the financial and commercial hub of Pakistan and get them resolved on top priority which is the only way to ensure that the economic and industrial wheels of this city keep on spinning without any interruption.