Friday, February 06, 2009

Let The Games Begin: PPP v MQM

From today's Daily Times:

Sindh Minister for Local Government Agha Siraj Durrani
[dodgy, dodgy man] said that the government is considering bifurcating Karachi into six smaller districts [excellent idea, because a city (and only the fraction that isn't in the army, civil aviation authority, port trust's control) is best run with half a dozen people vying for resources] and added that other districts including Hyderabad and Larkana, which the previous government had divided into several districts, will be restored to their original form [doesn't seem like tit for tat in the slightest].

5 comments:

Majaz said...

Karachi's a big city. Bifurcating it further wouldn't be a bad idea, as long as it's not run by idiots.

AKS said...

Majaz, no disrespect, but I think it will be a terrible idea.

First of all, Karachi is already pretty bifurcated - Mustafa Kamal never fails to remind us that he only controls 34% of the city.

To decentralize the city government further would be lunacy. The infrastructure of a city is contiguous and dividing the city's administration creates power struggles and disables the city from tackling city wide issues.

And I can't imagine that this move will help PPP in any way electorally. But what it will do is that it will limit the chances of an enterprising city politician becoming a key political figure - e.g. Mustafa Kamal, Naimatullah Khan, Farooq Sattar and many before them like Hatim Alvi.

Consider the following examples of divisions gone bad:

Karachi has been struggling to formulate a master plan for urban transport specifically because the various players controlling the city don't see eye to eye.

Another example, last year a KPT contingent, which included several military personnel, stopped CDGK from working on the large Boat Basin park. (CDGK says they want to develop it in the same vein as Ibn-e-Qasim park, KPT has told them to go find another park.) CDGK, not one to give up without a fight, sent over its 'guards' and the two armed sides squared off, but thankfully a large contingent of police was able to bring the situation under control. The park continues to lie in a dilapidated state.

One last illustration, the city has a few major drains (some called 'rivers'). Consider this, if the CDGK pumps untreated sewage and industrial waste into these drains people living down stream suffer but because the downstream area aren't in their control they don't really care. On the other hand, DHA may constrict the size of a major drain to reclaim more land, as a result upstream areas start clogging up. This is exactly what's been happening.

By the way, I would highly recommend people to go look at satellite images of Karachi using Google Earth. You'll find large swathes of empty land smack in the middle of the city which could be used as alternates to our main transport arteries, and could further be developed for a host of other more productive purposes - parks, recreational facilities, hospitals, residential and commercial centers.

zeyd said...

Aks,

Dodgy man indeed. I'll tell you some stories soon...

Ahsan said...

Poor Mustafa Kamal. I really do feel terrible for the dude.

Majaz said...

No disrespect taken, AKS. You've got a valid point there. I only expressed my viewpoint in the light of the fact that Karachi's teeming population has come to a point where it needs bifurcation and allocation. The issue of political agents seeing eye-to-eye is definitely going to be a problem if Karachi is bifurcated, but don't you feel that with larger matters and larger masses at hand, these differences will only create bigger problems? That's just bad math.

Maybe, and this is a fanciful maybe, if the bifurcation begins, these stakeholders will begin to finally feed off their shares and leave the bigger areas alone?

As for Mustufa Kamal.. he can only do so much, the poor guy.