- The rivers about to play havoc
At least 11 people died in Karachi before Eid in incidents related to rains while the city had no power or water supply on Eid day. The downpour has exposed the inefficiency, lack of responsiveness and mutual rivalries among the PPP, MQM and PTI.
The PPP has been in power in the province for 11 consecutive years now. The MQM, which ruled the province in partnership with Musharraf and later with the PPP, also cannot be exonerated. Instead of constructing planned housing colonies for the poor in the fast-expanding city, the two parties looked the other way as homeless people-built shanties along watercourses and drains and a number of localities sprang up in low lying areas.
The PPP’s provincial government monopolised the huge funds that came with the last NFC award. It refused to hand a sufficient part of the funds over to the local governments. While the MQM Pakistan supports the government at the centre it is still considered a rival by the PTI leadership. The federal government has therefore been reluctant to fulfil the promise of allocating Rs25 billion to Karachi and Rs5 billion to Hyderabad, fearing that this would strengthen the influence of the MQM at the PTI’s expense.
Federal Minister Ali Haider Zaidi concentrated on photo sessions with Rangers and Army personnel doing rescue work, and with a handful of rain-affected families. Provincial Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani expressed satisfaction that the provincial government had managed to keep the city’s thoroughfares motorable. According to him, it was for the district committees and lower bodies to look after the electricity problems, watercourses, drains and flooding of low-lying areas. Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar blamed the PM for failing to fulfil his promise.
The water level in the country’s rivers is meanwhile rising alarmingly. On Monday Rajanpur’s land link with neighbouring areas was cut off while river embankments in Ghotki were under pressure and were partially eroded in Kandhkot.
PM Imran Khan remains fully focused on setting scores with the opposition and the media. There is a need for him to realise that the ongoing Karachi rains and rivers in flood are rife with serious repercussions for the people and the national economy.