Each year when I visit Karachi, I notice changes either it’s about the culture or infrastructure. This year I noticed the same difference in Hyderabad. My week long trip to Hyderabad gave me the sense that Hyderabad is developing rapidly like any other big city in Pakistan. “Autobahn Road” is turning into Tariq Road of Karachi. The brand outlets like Khaddi, Ideas and international food chains like Subway, McDonald and local restaurants, all can be found on this road. The development is a good sign for the locals that some investment is flowing in the city which will bring more employment opportunities.
Driving at nights in late hours gave me sense that people in Hyderabad are in less stress as compared to the people of Karachi. They were using cell phones freely on the roads and there was not much street crime at least in Latifabad. Traffic can be seen on the roads till midnight and people were sitting out late on ice cream spots like Alpino Gelato and Berrylicious. Six year back when I had to take my brother out for dinning in Hyderabad, I could not find a single decent restaurant in the city other than Al-Rahim with slower service. But now they have Bar B.Q. Tonight and Royal Taj hotel and many more.
Despite all these development and opportunities what the city is lacking is maintenance and some civic sense in the citizens which more or less are the issues of every city in Pakistan. The bridges and highways and roads that City Government of Hyderabad built under the mayor ship of Kunwar Naved are turning into ruins. I saw rain water standing on the roads and garbage containers were flowing out on the streets but no service was available to pick it up. I didn’t see a single spraying campaign against Flies and Mosquitos as preemptive measures to save the people from outbreaks like Diarrhea and Dengue.
Another change I noticed this year in Hyderabad was that neighborhood committees have installed security barriers on each street and a private guard is available to operate that barrier. A local from my area said, “We, the people, are running our own system, government can’t provide us electricity, we are generating our own electricity through generators, and they have failed in providing the security against criminals; therefore, we have installed these barriers and have hired private guards for security”. The situation he described is the situation of the whole country or at least in Karachi as well. People are living there without any system. They produce their own electricity, they have private securities, in some areas people running parallel system to Judiciary like Jirga and Panchayat, and there are private water supply companies because of water shortage. My question is, then why do people vote for the system and pay taxes?
Unfortunately, I don’t know how many people have noticed but after having a child in the family who is mentally challenged and living in Hyderabad, the city has no proper institute for such children, either private or public.
A resident of Hyderabad “Pakka Qila” said that we have three industries; Bangles, Handmade Carpets and Leather shoes; running inside Pakka Qila on smaller level without any support from the government. He said that no government or any Business Association has ever supported us or provided any space for our promotion and growth. He said, “We had hopes from Governor Sind because he has strong connection among business community but nothing has ever been done for us.”
I noticed that a new trend has been introduced in the markets like “Chandni” that some people were collecting illegal parking charges from the shoppers for Rs.20.00/car. But Police while standing there doesn’t take any notice for this extortion. Bombay Bakery still has the long lines of cake lovers, the taste was the same and so was the demand. In old city “Resham Gali” and “Qadam Gah Ali” are facing higher traffic on same small and congested roads.
Crowded shops, packed restaurants and parks are giving the message that people of Hyderabad are willing to own the city if government can sincerely provide them local government and proper system with basic necessities. Otherwise, we can wish that people of Sind can develop awareness within of having a new Chief Minister who is young, dedicated and has modern ideas and energy to serve them.