AFTER the One Unit system was dissolved in the country, as a result of which Karachi was now again the capital of the province of Sindh, things were returning to where they were more than two decades back. There may not have been too many joyous scenes in Karachi, but the mood in the province in general was one of celebration.

On July 18, 1970, the rebirth of Sindh was celebrated in a spirit of triumph and jubilation at an event titled ‘Jashn-i-Sindh’ held at Khaliqdina Hall by the Sindhi Adabi Sangat. Well-known poet and scholar Sheikh Ayaz presided over the ceremony which comprised a mushaira, a meeting of the sangat and a musical concert. In a resolution the members of the group demanded that all provincial languages be called national languages. Another resolution condemned the government’s ban on some books and publications, calling for the withdrawal of the ban.

The city of Karachi itself, though, was grappling with the kind of problems that had now become almost synonymous with its existence. On July 13, the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) with the help of the police found 300 unauthorised water connections in Liaquatabad. When they came to know about the wrongdoing, they disconnected the pipelines and it was considered that a legal action be taken against the offenders. Today, this issue has assumed an entirely different form as many citizens get water from ‘tankers’ at hefty prices. So much for progress.

Staying on the subject, on July 15, it was reported that water contamination had become a serious threat adding to the misery of Karchiites as a sequel to the rains that had recently lashed the city.

Many community water taps got ‘immersed’ in the accumulated rain and sewage water creating a major health hazard to the thousands of residents living in low-lying areas. What was worse that most of the taps in the old city neighbourhoods were placed adjacent to public lavatories.

Now to the reporting of a bit of strange kind of crime: on July 16 stolen tyres worth Rs15,000 were recovered and two persons were arrested in that connection by the CIA. The suspect had arrived from Mianwali and just when they started their ‘criminal’ activities, they were caught. The police claimed the two men first got hold of four tyres of large and small sizes which were stolen from a factory in SITE and Landhi, followed by 14 more from the house of the suspects.

Things looked brighter in the field of art. On July 17, a sensitive portrayal of rustic life and rural setting highlighted an exhibition of paintings by Mussarat Mirza. The show was opened at the Arts Council by M. Anwar Qadir, managing director of the National Bank of Pakistan. According to a critic, the 40 paintings displayed in the council subtitled ‘Dust and desert’ indicated a ripening of talent. The artist’s effort stood out for its artistic competence compared to some recent exhibitions. Ms Mirza had shown remarkable skills in capturing the mood of country life. She’s from Sukkur and some of the impressive images in the show were the scenes that she came across on a daily basis.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2020