The unfortunate fate of Karachi

In 1947, Karachi was a relatively small port city with very few local inhabitants. When Karachi was declared the capital of Pakistan, there was a need to develop its infrastructure. This city also happened to be the birthplace of Father of Nation MAJ. People from all over Pakistan, including hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants, chose to settle in this city and benefit from the vast opportunities that a new nation offered.

Whilst Karachi and the Federal Government welcomed all shades of ethnicities and faiths to live in peace and harmony with each other, they all benefitted. With exception of a few original Parsi residents or mayor Naimatullah, this city has suffered neglect and abuse of both MQM and PPP ever since the 80s. For over 13 years Karachi and its destiny was in the hand of Altaf Hussain led MQM, which enjoyed the patronage of Musharraf.

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The peace and security of life and property and the spirit of tolerance that was unique to this city, suffered a blow. Kidnapping for ransom, target killings and torture cells emerged in the city, which was once known as the City of Lights. Land allocated for amenity parks, including state-owned real estate was forcibly occupied by goons. There was no sense of ownership of Karachi by the beneficiaries of this plunder, who transferred billions, to their foreign bank accounts, where their leaders chose to live with their families. The PPP cannot absolve itself of gross misgovernance and neither can Altaf-led MQM. What Karachi needs is a sense of ownership and tolerance by the majority of its residents and the need to give back to the city which offered them jobs, home and prosperity.

M TARIQ ALI

LAHORE

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