A nightmare

Published February 13, 2024

WATCHING the post-election coverage on television the other day, I saw a politician delivering a ‘victory’ speech after he and his party had somewhat unexpec-tedly won quite a few seats in Karachi. The people have spoken, and “we shall govern Karachi”, he thundered. My mind immediately went back to the night of Feb 3 when almost the whole city got paralysed after a single spell of rain. It was a nightmare.

Like thousands others, we also got stuck at Sharea Faisal for three hours that night owing to flooding after the rain had wreaked havoc across the city. More than the rain, it was the apathy of those running the city administration that was the reason behind the trouble the people faced. And, mind you, it is not just about the current administration. Karachi has been a God forsaken city for an irritatingly long time.

That night we found roads completely choked from Saddar to Nursery. When we eventually reached the bridge at Nursery, we were surprised to see that it was just a small area that was flooded with rainwater. Had the city administrators made some efforts to clear that particular spot, thousands of people would have been spared the trouble they underwent. But it looked as if no government existed. Karachi has no guardians, it seems.

The very purpose of having a govern- ment in place is to ensure the provision of facilities to the people. On paper, we have departments, staff, their salaries, and infrastructure. But when it comes to the performance, it is zero. We have disaster management department. But one wonders where it was when it was needed the most. We have parliamenta-rians, we have union councils, and, of course, we have a mayor, but on the ground, you find nothing happening.

As for the traffic police force, well, its only purpose on the roads is to harass commuters on one pretext or the other. On that rainy night, no traffic policeman was seen on the roads to help people when they needed it the most. The rain, practically, came as a reminder to voters in Karachi about what they needed to do at the polls.

Zaid Pirzado
Karachi

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2024

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