KARACHI: A federal government-initiated campaign to clean Karachi is set to begin from Sunday (today) with the first target to de-silt all storm-water drains before Eidul Azha.
The ‘Clean Karachi’ drive is being launched on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan in close partnership with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-led local government set-up and federal institutions like Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and National Logistics Cell.
Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had announced the campaign earlier this week in Islamabad.
The issue of cleanliness in Karachi often brings the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government under serious criticism since it has been ruling the province for the past 11 years and enjoying the management control of key civic institutions like the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and Sindh Building Control Authority.
On Saturday, Mr Zaidi formally briefed the media about the plan and its execution during the next two weeks at a press conference held at his office in the Karachi Port Trust building.
Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi says the Sindh govt has so far not contacted him regarding the initiative
“In the first phase we are going to clear all storm drains in the city,” he said. “I have very clear directives from PM Imran Khan who said clean the city — whatever it takes.”
“We are determined and moving with a very positive approach. I am thankful to Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar and our [PTI] MPAs and MNAs, who have assured their full support and are all set to achieve the target,” he said. “Last night, I watched a news channel [report] that a Sindh minister was saying that he would contact me to extend his support. But no such thing has happened yet.”
Mr Zaidi said the prime minister had directed that Karachi could not be left helpless the way it had been by the Sindh government for such a long time.
He said his ministry had talked to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for its role in situations like heavy rains. Besides, he said, the FWO and NLC would be providing logistic support for the ‘Clean Karachi’ campaign.
“It’s quite unfortunate that the Sindh government has never cared about Karachi and its people and their mismanagement of the past 11 years has now resulted in the massive suffering of the citizens of this megacity,” the minister said.
“We need to find a permanent solution and we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the mayor of Karachi to cope with the emergency situation triggered by the recent rains in the city. Our campaign has received tremendous response from the people as well and we look forward to the contribution of every segment of society,” he said.
He said that over 30 private companies, celebrities and around 10,000 volunteers had pledged their support to the campaign and the number was growing with each passing day.
Several industries and their managements wanted to financially contribute to this campaign, he said and added: “A proper mechanism has been developed for ensuring transparency in spending funds.”
Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2019