THE president has appointed a task force to pre-empt violence in Karachi, expressing deep concern over inability of the law-enforcement agencies to quell it. It is now for the task force to carefully examine the real causes which are responsible for such prolonged violence, forcing industries and businesses to shift to safer places and even countries abroad, badly hitting economic activities which pay over 70 per cent federal revenue, besides exports.
It is necessary to curb this evil immediately or else this city might slowly turn into another Nooriabad. The major cause of this is the fast development of the city from a population of 400,000 people to 18 million souls in six decades.
The city is continuously expanding, without any care and without any master planning, especially to meet its growing needs.
This has led to the neglect of social, environmental and other humane aspects, leading to the creation of several no-go areas or slums, where people are living in very poor, subhuman conditions, thus creating large law and order black spots.
Therefore, unless all such areas are shifted to better conditions, offering them humane environment and better avenues for a decent standard of living, livelihood and income, there is little chance of ending the present trend of violence.
No doubt this appears to be a Herculean task, which has been badly ignored for six decades through the suicidal policy of regularisation of such developments in the name of kachhi abadis.
Fortunately, sufficient lands are available along the Northern Bypass to establish decent colonies and avenues of decent employment opportunities, where all these slums can be shifted, employing similar policies as were adopted for shifting huge numbers of such slums for construction of the Lyari Expressway.
Sufficient funds will have to be found, besides efficient planning and execution, to save Karachi, which offers all the economic well-being for Pakistan. Funds have to be found through contributions and other methods before it is too late.
Besides this, proper master planning of the city is to be given top priority to create self-contained smaller cities to avoid too much dependence on the central business districts. However, very soon we have to plan another city to absorb further in-migration from upcountry, which is a never-ending phenomenon, to avoid further expansion of the city to unmanageable dimensions as it is today.
S. M. H. RIZVI Karachi