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My home, a wasteland

November 07, 2018


I WAS born in Karachi in the auspicious year of 1992. Pakistan won the cricket World Cup that year, a small blip of happiness on our radar which is usually overwhelmed with grief and tragedy. My parents were born in this city, got married, had my sisters and eventually me, never daring to leave our cocoon of unbridled joy in the shape of our home in the hustling, bustling metropolis of the city that is the sixth largest (most populous) in the world.

What’s the tragedy you ask? It is this: the city that we fondly regarded as the only home we would ever know has fast become decrepit, derelict and dilapidated, overrun with waste and embroiled in crises ranging from water-shortages to uncontrollable street crime. This is the pathetic slum which we call home.

The other most populous cities in the world include Beijing, Shanghai and Istanbul, cities with far superior infrastructure, planning and development despite the fact that they host such a sizeable population.

Karachi on the other hand is ranked among the bottom 10 cities in the Global Livability Index according to a World Bank Report on the city. As for public transport the report states that “no cohesive transportation policy exists for Karachi, even as a thousand new vehicles are added to the roads each day”.

The bottom line is this: the city that more than 15 million people including myself call home has become a wasteland where the fight for resources if it has not already begun is bound to begin soon. The air is not fit to breathe, the water not fit to drink and, without prejudice to the foregoing, almost half of the population’s daily water requirements are not met. Roads are filled with garbage, law and order is not maintained and there is no end to street crime. I have no statistics to back this information up except for the fact that I have two working eyes and all my senses are intact.

Faizan Mohammad Faizi


Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2018