I ATTENDED a tableeghi ijtima in Karachi earlier this year. Media reports at the time said it was attended by around two million people. It was conducted at the ijtima gah, which is a vast plain land that has been particularly designated for this mammoth gathering and is located in Orangi Town, a suburb of Karachi.
To my surprise, such a humongous setup was finely organised in a well-defined place, properly barricaded, having almost all basic needs of living, such as toilets, ablution, shower, reasonable restaurants, drinking water and even a dedicated car parking lot. It looked like a city of tents as it was all covered. The whole ground was divided as per the areas in Karachi and further subdivision was based on mosques of the respective areas.
With the country in the middle of a flood-related crisis, I just wonder why the provincial governments do not opt for replicating the plan. All they have to do is to utilise dry and vacant areas in each city for letting the flood victims stay under a roof until their areas become liveable.
On a daily basis there are causalities on various accounts, but once the affectees are transported to such ‘tent cities’, they can be better looked after. It will be convenient for relief and welfare organisations to help them. It will be a rather collective and organised welfare, and would do wonders.
Transportation, proper registration of the victims and demarcations, checks and balances seem vital, and the rest will come along the way with not much difficulty. This way no one will be neglected. It will be considerd a good job.
Those affected by floods from remote areas have been complaining of no relief reaching them, and health issues exacer-bating due to no or little medical care and medicines. All such problems may be overcome if the victims could be brought together in large numbers at one place.
The suggestion is not a solution to all the problems, but it seems better than sitting by the roadside under the scorching sun and waiting for some kind of relief. The farther the area from cities, the less likely it is for the victims to receive attention.
While I was thinking along these lines, I realised that another lingering issue in Sindh may be resolved in these critical days. Bandits have generally taken control of barren areas for generations, and nobody has been able to eliminate them or their menace. I am sure even the dacoits would have been displaced in the recent floods.
The floods could be a blessing in disguise for the law-enforcement agencies to get rid of such criminal elements by taking over their areas, and establish control which they can, but the dacoits can’t in these troubled times.
Dr Syed Areebuddin
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2022