Friday, November 24, 2006

Raping Karachi

There’s an alarming story in this month’s Newsline about the privatization of pretty much all of Karachi’s beaches. Everyone’s been making noise about the manner in which the DHA (army people) has sold ALL of Defence’s seaside lands to foreign developers; a lot’s been said about the sale of two islands in the Korangi creek area (you can see these from Phase 8 / Marina Club Area) by the Port Authority – the provincial government is contesting this sale, not on the grounds that the land should not be sold at it displaces the entire population of an adjacent fishing village (Ibrahim Hydery) but on the grounds that the money (quoted as high as $ 30 Billion, which I refuse to believe) belongs to Sindh and not the Port Authority.

Newsline reveals that the sales don’t stop there, the Karachi City government has sold the entire stretch of beach from Sea View McDonalds to Oyster Rocks (area way past Indus Valley) in a dodgy deal – apparently a local politician and Middle Easter developers stand to make millions from the deal, while the city will get miniscule interest payments. The one good thing is that the road’s been done up so that you can travel from Seaview to West Wharf / Keamari along the beach and get there quite fast. And this has meant another opportunity for the fucking idiot ex-Navy officials in-charge of the Port Authority are ready to sell even more land. Islamabad has already signed a MOU with yet another Middle Eastern developer to sell, get this, MANORA! Continuing from there local businessman , and property cartels have started buying large chunks of land, excluding fishing villages, west (I think its west anyway) of Manora and in Hawks Bay. Apparently they’ve been intimated by the government that once the Manora development is underway the government will clear out the fishing villages and build a bridge linking Manora to Clifton (I think realistically this will be from Manora to Keamari) whereby the journey time from the city to Hawks Bay, et al will be drastically reduced. This way the only Public beaches left within the extended confines of greater Karachi will be Sea View, and that even only the area between McDonalds and The Village, or the area west of French beach, which is actually in Baluchistan!

Now I don’t mind the development of the beach one bit, and personally I don’t mind the privatization of the beach either because I will either be able to afford it, or I’ll have some friends who will be able to afford it or I’ll just marry someone who can; the point is that all of Karachi’s beaches will become the domain of the rich. The logic of the Admirals and Generals in charge of most of these sales is quite clear, “Manora’s a shit hole, no one goes there so lets sell it off so it gets developed”. Absolutely right, Manora is a shit hole but it’s a shit hole where fisherman live and have lived for centuries, and lots of people do go there; they’re not rich perhaps, they’re people like my driver who takes his family there whenever he can because its one of the few places he can afford to go. What all this means is that even if a million people can afford to visit these new private developments, 15 million people will not be able to do so; that’s 15 million people in a poor, dirty city robbed of one of their few means of entertainment and that’s just not right. But hey, I’ll be sipping a non-alcoholic cocktail in a ‘nice little place’ by the sea, the rest of the city can fuck right off, dirty, smelly buggers, we’ll start another NGO to look after them; and what of the fisherman of Karachi, well they’ll manage to find some fish in a well in Sohrab Goth, they’re quite ‘resourceful’ you know… now where’s my cigar, OI WAITER!



Alien Panda said...

And no political party, including the self proclaimed 'party of the poor', MQM, has said much about the issue. I guess that as long as deep pocketed middle eastern sheikhs are involved politicians stand to make a tidy sum, whether theyre in the government or not.

ayla said...

So it's true!

I have this new Emirati 'friend' at university and I remember him saying to me proudly, 'we're even buying islands near Pakistan!' I was like, 'Pakistan doesn't have islands...' and he's like, 'well near the ocean. They'll build the islands.' I'm like WTF?

Seriously, this guy just makes me so disgusted with the way he talks... about how Dubai is will keep buying 'because we want to own everything, we won't have oil for much longer.' I've brought up the arguments of labour etc. and he's like, 'it's really sad... it's business. You'd make a terrible businesswoman if you think this way.'

He has no empathy which makes me think they all have no empathy... they live in their 'glass towers,' they are completely anti-intellectual and believe only in money. He smiles and seems like a nice guy, but man... maybe he doesn't understand the consequences of the things that come out of his mouth.

I can't stand this.