Metropolitan cities are known for the conglomeration of different people with jingoistic cultures, evolving in a lapse of time to a new kind of social formation. The evolution of cultural fraternity provides a sense of romanticism to the citizens that ultimately, turns the city into an aura of a beautiful civilization. It not only influences the adjacent urban outfits and contrasting cultures but also attracts the way of rural life under its fold.
However, their imapcts are intense throughout the world that we are constraint to call this world a ” Global Village “. The modern cities are alike in architecture and so are their dewllers in dressing, eating and lifestyles. People from diverse cultural background intermingle in cosmopolitan cities to make them ardent members of the newly growing universal society of cosmopolitan cities. Such emerging social forces are gradually balancing the conflicting ideologies all over the world into the concept of the ” New World Order “.
Karachi is a metropolitan city that possesses the potential to build up a framework to accomodate all races and ethnicities, a criteria for ideal metropolitan city. Karachi is like a mini “subcontinent” where people from Assam to Malabar and Madras to Mathura are permanently settled and made it their motherland after 1947. Their fourth generation is now toiling to make it ” The Jewel of the East ” .
The planners of this city had rightly visualized it’s magnificent growth into a big city, taking its agricultural hinterland in consideration besides its location as a port in the South of subcontinent. That could have been the easy access to the hot waters of the Arabian Sea. This city was however, the gateway to Indian Subcontinent before the partition.
But, alarmingly, Karachi has continuously changed its posture from one to the other, particularly during the long spells of army rule and short bursts of civilian governments. This city was, rightly or wrongly, called the economic hub of Pakistan and every one was bent to milk the cow. With the announcement of the merger of the provinces in the form of ” One Unit “, the people were deprived of the basic human rights. There was a long list of biased and selfish arbitrary diktats under the draconian laws, from time to time, to provide benefits to the people of the respective controlling provinces .
Karachi received first acknowledgement when Bashir, the camel-cart driver was graciously invited to America by the visiting US President Johnson. The city transportation system became synonymous to carts pulled by camels and horses. A lot of buffaloes, cows, sheep and goats were pouring in since then.
Unfortunately, Sindhis and Karachiites were kept away from the city’s administrations and police departments. Heavy recruitments in Karachi Police started from Punjab and KPK in order to exploit the city’s resources at their will. Even the high officials in most of the departments were brought from outside Sind. All such decisions were being made in the name of “One Unit ” and ” Parity “. Lahore was declared as its capital while the former three provincial capitals i,e. Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi lost their status as the central cities of their respective provinces.
Unfortunately, the injustice infused hatred among masses and laid the foundation of ” Provincialism and Wide Corruption” in the country. It is not surprising that the seeds of hatred, terrorism and corruption our leaders sowed during those days have now grown to a strong tree that, ultimately, turned Pakistan into a ” Failed State “ Although, Yahya Khan abolished One Unit, the administrative structures introduced during Martial Law could not be eradicated completely till now. Unfortunately, recent reformations and developments invite cases of corruptions and frauds.
The City of Lights faces plethora of challenges that has made struggle, a habit for the residents of the city.
Multicolored buses on the roads of Karachi are surely an attention grabber but what one doesn’t miss are their shabby and broken bodies. Briefly, I would like to describe only the present condition of the public buses run by the individuals and public sector.
1) The owners of the buses run in Karachi are mostly from the provinces other than Sind.
2) The buses are generally brought from the village roads when they are ready to retire. They are shabbily colored installed with uncomfortable seats, dirty-stinky covers and curtains. Some buses do not have doors and widow glasses. It is surprising that some of the drivers do not keep official papers and driving license with them. These buses are usually put on fire during the agitations on the roads of Karachi. The owners of those buses happily claim good insurance amounts and compensations from the Government.
3) Alarming scenes are witnessed of buses running with jammed commuters on the roof without any railing or support, whereas the insides are packed with passengers and many are seen hanging on the windows.
Garbage at disposal
Pollution is a major problem of the city with no proper arrangement for disposal. Empty plots in posh areas are dumped with garbage making it hard to differentiate them from slums.
Law and Order
Law and Order situation is a question that has not found the answer yet. Karachi is a city where people with different ethnicity and language background are seen killing each other daily in dozens. This heinous crime is committed under the nose of the Rangers, army, police and powerful Intelligence Agencies posted in Karachi to tackle terrorism. The security agencies are getting their salaries with innumerable perks and facilities from the taxes citizens pay.
Karachites deprived of ownership
Interestingly, neither Sindhis nor the Karachites ever claimed that the city of Karachi belong to them or they are the owner of the city. But the leaders of other provinces repeatedly claim in public appearences that Karachi belongs to each one. Why they are so curious and restless when the Sindhis and the citizens of the city always greet people from each part of the country to earn and live peacefully. Actually, it is their inner guilt and ulterior political motives that force them to adage hatred to keep the city in turmoil.
Display of weapons
Every political party has a militant wing to show the strength by display of weapons and street crimes. Target killing has become a daily routine. Nobody feels secured in this city which has 23 million of population.
How this city could be termed as a cultured and civilized city where blood of mankind has no value? Karachi, in fact, has become like a fief of a Feudal lord who enslaves his tenants at his will and whims. Clashes in the suburbs of Karachi reminds of the fights between the tribes who engaged themselves in tribal feuds on petty issues for years in tribal regions.
The problems faced by Karachi are not simple. But it needs immediate solution. Nobody wants its solution to be obtained through guns and daggers or any sort of civil war. All the stakeholders of the country have to find some sensible solution, otherwise the repetition of 1971 tragedy is on the making.