KARACHI: A car and a motorbike are stuck in deep water on Aiwan-i-Sadr Road after heavy rain lashed parts of the metropolis late on Saturday night.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
KARACHI: A car and a motorbike are stuck in deep water on Aiwan-i-Sadr Road after heavy rain lashed parts of the metropolis late on Saturday night.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

• PML-N, MQM, JI take aim at Sindh’s ruling party, call out poor governance despite decade-long tenure
• Bilawal commends Karachi mayor for draining rainwater ‘efficiently’: Shehbaz says would’ve left poll race if similar situation transpired in Lahore

KARACHI/LAHORE: A ‘moderate’ spell of rain which brought the provincial capital to a standstill provided a golden opportunity to the PPP’s political rivals, who took Karachi’s PPP-led local government administration to the cleaners for its poor governance despite its decade-long rule in the province.

The rainfall killed three people and flooded the residential and commercial areas in the city, leading to power outages and the collapse of the traffic management system.

This spell comes at a time when the PPP chairperson is busy on the election trail, seeking votes from across the country for his party. A few days ago, he had also challenged ex-PM Nawaz Sharif to a debate on issues of national importance.

In response to Karachi’s urban flooding, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said had Lahore been presenting the look of Karachi after the rains, he would have withdrawn from the electoral contest. It may be noted here that Lahore regularly experiences urban flooding, particularly during monsoon.

Referring to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s repeated challenges for a public debate with Nawaz Sharif on national issues, the younger Sharif said that he had offered the rival party’s leader to do a comparison between the performances of the two parties.

“Karachi had been presenting the picture of destruction. [Pedestrian] mothers and sisters were wading through knee-deep waters.” He said that had Lahore — ruled by the PML-N from 2008 to 2018 — been presenting the look of Karachi post-Saturday rains, he would have withdrawn his nomination from the Lahore seat.“

In the home province, traditional rivals Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Jamaat-i-Islami criticised the PPP for poor governance.

‘Feudal mindset’

At a press conference, MQM leader Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui lambasted the PPP for ignoring the issues of Karachi due to its alleged feudal mindset. “In fact they [PPP] are the enemies of Karachi and its people and they proved it again in this rain spell,” claimed the MQM leader.

“It is not the lack of resources and power but the lack of will which doesn’t allow them to own this city and its people. They first ruined the rural Sindh and now eyeing to turn Karachi into another rural town,” he added.

The MQM leader also held the caretaker administration led by retired judge Maqbool Baqar responsible for the post-rain problems in the provincial capital. “The entire city drowned in moderate rains and they want to compare their performance with Punjab. For this poor performance, they wasted trillions of rupees of public money,” added the MQM leader.

Former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal compared the recent urban flooding with the situation in his tenure, claiming that the city administration was receiving “100 times more” money than past, yet the PPP failed to perform even in a single area. “Can you believe that they have spent Rs2,200 billion for Karachi administration,” said Mustafa Kamal.

“In my four-year term, we received Rs5 billion. The PPP has only excelled in corruption and nepotism, but now the people of Karachi and across Sindh can no longer be made fools … For the past 15 years, you have not given us a single drop of water, but have ended up filling [water] tankers and selling us water which is rightfully ours.”

“Today Lahore has the Orange Line Metro Train project. But here in Karachi, the business capital and port city, we have only witnessed the downfall of quality of life,” added the MQM leader.

JI Karachi chief Naeemur Rehman, who lost the mayoral election to incumbent Murtaza Wahab, said the rain had washed away PPP’s electoral campaign.

Addressing a press conference at the JI headquarters in Karachi, the JI leader said the PPP failed to deliver in the city. “Billions of rupees are plundered every year in the name of cleanliness of storm drains and emergency measures,” he added.

While addressing a rally in Hyderabad, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari brushed aside the criticism and praised the administration of the Karachi mayor for draining the accumulated water after 75mm of rainfall in an hour by the morning.

According to Geo News, he also asked the city administration to consider the problems faced by the residents due to rain and resolve them.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2024

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