Karachi Citizens Forum at Pak American Cultural Centre

Quid

The Karachi Citizens Forum (KCF) at Pak American Cultural Centre on Friday, civil society members demanded the formation of an apex committee, comprising Karachi’s citizens, for the schemes’ implementation. Social sector representatives, town planners, architects, lawyers and others from Karachi need to be part of this committee, they stressed.

KCF convener Nargis Rehman pointed out that while the Centre had announced the KTP as a solution to address the destruction caused by recent rains, it had not elaborated on the details of the package. “In such a situation, there is a risk that the investment injected into KTP’s development scheme would go to waste,” she said, adding there was no master-plan for the schemes and uncertainty surrounded the durability of the projects’ outcomes.

Going forward with the KTP without addressing these loopholes will not just result in squandering resources, but will also increase the burden of loans, Rehman warned.

She also identified the lack of coordination between the Centre and Sindh as one of the factors hindering the resolution of Karachi’s problems.

And this, she warned, may lead to the KTP’s failure too.

She also called for empowering the local government to devise long-term solutions for Karachi’s problems.

Agreeing with her, Pakistan Medical Association general secretary Dr Qaisar Sajjad said the city’s healthcare system was crumbling due to the weakened local government system.

Poor sewerage system and improperly managed garbage disposal has resulted in outbreaks of skin and gastrointestinal diseases, he explained. “The city may face problems far worse next year if the sewerage system and cleaning arrangement are not improved.”

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said the proposal for a taskforce to oversee the implementation of KTP projects was being considered and a decision would be made soon.

He too stressed the need to include Karachi’s citizens in the proposed apex committee.

Later, other speakers decried that both the provincial and the federal governments lacked the political will to resolve Karachi’s issues. They also criticised authorities over the alleged miscounting of Karachi’s population during the last census and failure to focus on proper town planning in the city.

In the absence of a master-plan, the metropolis would continue to face problems even after large investments in development projects, they said.