A few days ago, as I was leaving for work in the morning, my guard handed me a small piece of paper saying government officials had driven by andÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â handed this to him saying it was a ticket. I unfolded it and saw that the ticket was for the excess water flowing out of my storm drain and onto the road. it said that if I kept on expunging water out onto the road the local government authorities at the naib nazims office would clean up the street and charge me for it. It also gave me the choice of taking care of the issue myself in 24 hours after which they would make another spot check.
The purpose of telling you the above story is not because I have complaints at this treatment or that I feel wronged by this act. It is to illustrate to you what happens when a system in Karachi works and as far as my own neighborhood is concerned works daily. I actually felt proud that day as me and my father drove past the newly constructed jail road flyover on our way. Proud in the local government and their efficiency in maintaining a clean street in front of my house, proud that we finally have a system which is actually performing. This is just a teeny tiny example of the work that the CDGK has been doing over the last 8 years. True Naimatullah was a great visionary and he left a great many plans started for the CDGK when Mustufa Kamal came in but to take each and every one of those plans,Â complete them and then go on to do tons moreÂ almost superhuman work, demands not just dedication and party loyalty it demands self sacrifice. Sacrifice for public office, something we quite routinely crib about to our hearts content about our government lacking.
In a city of millions of people, 95% of whom “DO NOT” respect the law and ply roads daily with the most haphazard of driving techniques, policed by a force which is both foreign to the city and corrupt and unresponsive to the core. Divided in its land rights among 13 agencies and all this given to a young man with no prior experience of heading such an undertaking. This is not the most astonishing part, the astonishing part is that this man Mustufa kamal came through. He might have stumbled a bit in the monsoon, but hey I saw many a orange clad CDGK worker the next day draining and pumping water or moving it to the side. I even saw our mayor till 2am at night on tv channels roaming the city trying to solve its problems. So how and why did he achieve all of this?? To me the first step which seriously empowered our local government was the devolution of powers in the Musharraf era, which meant that now every areasÂ naib nazim got a budget and control and didn’t have to go running to the provincial ministry with his hands spread at every undertaking.Â It also enabled the strategic planning which is on display to happen.
This also meant that the people of X area elected a person from X area who lived amongst them knew most of them by name and “responded” to them. If I I had to choose which category to give credit to this CDGK authority it would be on their response!! fly overs and underpasses aside they really were there when the people called. That is what matters anyways in Pakistan, the aam junta want “sunwai” first, as before this no one gave a damn.
If you do not believe me call up their response number 1339 right now and you will get someone on the other end who notes your complaint gives you aÂ queue number like a professional and the team arrives at the destination to sort out the problem within that working day. Yes I know this happens abroad in a matter of hours but we are talking about a city in which previously weÂ kept knocking on government doors but no one arrived for months. We are talking about a City government which had to impose taxes on us just to keep their machinery running as the provincial governments funding dried up suddenly.
Right now every one of us has been informed that the local system of government is a failure and things will go back to as they were before this working structure came into being soon. This, without even taking the people who live here in confidence? Has anyone asked us what system of government we want in our areas?? Does anyone care?? If this is how the new system is beginning I think the time is not far away when we will be all back to square 1. Is that what Karachiites want?
In his last interview to dawn Mustufa says his family does not even include him in their plans anymore as he is never there. What more do the citizens of Karachi want from their mayor?
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