Model Colony woes

May 24 2020


OFFICIALS inspect on Saturday the debris of the plane that crashed in Model Colony.—Shakil Adil / White Star
OFFICIALS inspect on Saturday the debris of the plane that crashed in Model Colony.—Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: Spare a thought for Karachi. The city was, and perhaps still is, in the middle of a torrid tit-for-tat debate on Covid-19 regulations between the federal and Sindh governments, leaving its citizens baffled, wondering who to listen to. One of the arguments made by the latter was the unmanageable burden that might be put on the province’s health services if the SOPs, such as adherence to lockdown, were not followed. And on Friday afternoon an unthinkable and heart-wrenching incident in these uncertain times unfolded when a PIA flight from Lahore to Karachi, with 91 passengers and a crew of eight on board, a minute before touchdown crashed in the residential neighbourhood of Model Colony near the airport.

It was a little disconcerting to hear both on mainstream and social media that not too long after the crash took place and news of a couple of survivors — thank God for that — came, the most discussed topics were an inquiry into the incident and legality of the construction of buildings near the airport. These are fair points. But shouldn’t they have first been curious about the well-being of the residents of Model Colony hit by a tragedy out of nowhere?

Think for a moment. We are living in a time where a deadly pandemic has forced us to remain indoors; and if we go outside for unavoidable reasons, we need to wear a mask and keep a three-foot distance from each other. Then summer has set in, the sun is beating down on the city with all its might … and Eidul Fitr is here. Without a shadow of doubt, it’s physically damaging for the people living in the vicinity; and at the same time extremely debilitating on the psychological level.

The federal and Sindh governments would do well to help the Model Colony families rebuild both their lives and their homes

There are houses that have been destroyed. We are talking about an area populated by the middle class or lower middle class segments of society. Who doesn’t know how hard it is for them to put together a roof over their heads.

Also, by the time of writing this piece, there is a yet-to-be ascertained number of people that have died (some charred beyond recognition) and those who have sustained injuries. Such injuries can leave a mental scar for life.

The federal and Sindh governments will do good to initiate an inquiry into the incident, though many suspect its outcome, but they will do great if they’re able to shore up the morale of the surviving members of the Model Colony families and help them rebuild both their lives and homes. After all, we’ve been hearing a lot about being ‘proactive’ to counter the coronavirus crisis. This is the time to show Karachiites that their governments care for them.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2020