From Developing to Sinking: The Business Capital of Pakistan is Under Water

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In the 1960s, Karachi had the tallest building in South Asia, a rail system that ran through the city, a busy nightlife, and a lot of tourists. But for more than 50 years, the city’s infrastructure hasn’t kept up with its population, which has grown by more than 300 percent. This implies that public services like health care, transportation, and water are either run by the private sector or by organized crime.

For decades, disagreements between different levels of government have made it hard to run infrastructure and services. Syed Murad Ali Shah, the chief minister of Pakistan’s Sindh province, said this week that Karachi needs at least $10 billion to update its infrastructure. But in 2020, during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s regime, he announced that Karachi will get a historic development plan worth 1100 billion rupees to fix the city’s long-term problems. Under this plan, the city’s overflowing Nullahs, the sewerage system, transport system, and the railway reconstruction were discussed in detail and these issues were to be fixed in the next three years.

Sadly, Former Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted yesterday accusing the Sindh Government of corruption in the development plan allocated during his regime while Karachi continues to sink.

Karachi has been flooded by canal water and monsoon rains. Main roads were under water and the sewage poured out of manholes and into people’s homes while power was out for hours. Even though entire Pakistan has been under the spell of monsoon rains, the port city of Pakistan and the Business Capital was the hardest hit.

Many parts of the city were captured to be underwater with people swimming in the streets and the furniture from homes, trees, and even cars floating by in the videos that were shared on TV and social media.

While some people have been recorded to jump off their roofs into the water on the streets, making the most out of their adversity, many have been displaced leading to a huge number of losses.

The Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman had warned the government of the above-normal rainfalls during this Monsoon season amidst a rise in Climate Change. Sherry Rehman had warned of Urban flooding specifically in the city of Karachi along with some other small cities along the coast. Despite the warning, the city was not prepared and is therefore sinking decades later. 

Let’s not forget that the hardest hit amidst the urban flooding in Karachi is not those living in defense whose houses submerged up to 8 inches of water, but those who have been displaced from their houses without a warning, with nowhere else to go while the government sits back watches the show.

Development economists go so far as to say that the poor don’t die as much from natural disasters as they do from the incompetence of their leaders, who don’t do enough to prevent disasters and don’t do enough to help people after a disaster.

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Komal Ayaz
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