ANARCHY: POTENTIAL FALLOUT OF FLOODS
OUTLAWS ARE PENETRATING IN THE URBAN SETTLEMENTS
SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Aug 30 - Sep 05, 2010
The worst feeling being developed amongst the masses in the aftermath of flood is sense of deprivation and the frail responses from the government. While opposition parties are creating doubts about the credibility of the federal government, militants are spreading out in the urban areas. Added to these are ongoing drone attacks and some of the antisocial elements trying to undermine the efforts being rendered by the army. Some of the anti-US elements even go to the extent of saying that use of Nato forces, their helicopters and active involvement of USAID in the rescue and aid distribution provides them opportunities to go into breadth and length of the country, which could prove a fatal mistake.
Displacement of millions of people provides land grabbers and dacoits an opportunity to take into possession the land and whatever has been leftover from inundation. The landscape has change so drastically that it would become almost impossible for the people to identify their landholdings. It is also feared that most of the poor shifted to a little improvised town and/or urban areas will make permanent living in those areas. Since most of them, particularly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province must have lost their identity cards are seeking permanent shelters in other provinces, they would also be joined by Afghans seeking permanent residency in Pakistan.
Karachi, already suffering due to ethnic and sectarian divide, is exposed to the worst threat. It is feared that its demographic composition is being changed under an elaborate plan to create worst law and order situation. Lately, some of the groups have been trying to make Karachiwala their hostages. Ironically, the city has a few exits which have been taken into control by various ethnic group and they have attained the power to virtually shutdown the city in minutes. Since police of the city mostly consist of aliens people belonging to other provinces, they are least bothered as their only motto is to make as much money as possible, construct real estate in home towns and leave the city at their convenience.
It is often said that the police count is far less than the number required. However, the situation becomes most alarming when one looks at the number of those deployed for the security of VVIPs, MNAs, and MPAs. But the real concern is ghost policewalas - those never appear on the duty but their attendances are marked. These ghost policewalas mostly work for private security agencies, have weapons at their disposal and often indulge in activities that include kidnapping for ransom, burglaries, assassination. If one visits a police station hardly any mobile could be seen and when inquired about his the reply is they are on petrol. The government has provided the latest model cars to traffic police but most of them could be found busy in collecting 'bhatta' rather than managing the traffic.
Another point of concern is that most of the banned religious outfits have resurfaced in Karachi with new names and identities. A large number of mosques have become their hideouts and construction of new mosques and madarsas on grabbed lands is going on. In fact, these madarsas have become protected sanctuaries. Even the law enforcement agencies don't dare to go close to such hideouts as the residents are equipped with the most modern arsenal.
Some of the notorious mafias of Karachi are transport mafia, tanker mafia, car washer mafia enjoying the fullest support of drug traffickers and arms suppliers. Some of the people may find it difficult to believe that there are outfits in Karachi operating 'rent a weapon' shops most of which are located in the notorious Shorab Goth, situated right in the middle of the city. This area is predominantly occupied by the aliens carrying no identity cards or the forged cards at the best. Mobiles phones are making their businesses prosperous.
Most of katchi abadis are the product of land grabbers and inmates mostly consist of people coming from other areas of the country. These people are the worst burden on the city as their heads are not counted and also not considered part of Karachi because they carry cards issued from other town and cities. They live in Karachi, use electricity supplied by KESC and gas by SSGC, water and sewerage facilities by KW&SB and use city roads but CDGK hardly gets the funds corresponding to the actual population of the city.
While reported population of Karachi is around 15 million the actual population touches 20 million. After the flood the city will see another 500,000 people making Karachi their home. There is nothing wrong with these people making Karachi their permanent home but there should also be a corresponding increase in allocation of funds for revamping the existing infrastructure and undertaking construction of new facilities.
The irony of the fate is that provinces are raising exaggerated figures of the losses. While KP says the entire province faces destruction, Punjab demands the largest share of aids because of having the largest population, Balochistan replays the same tune of deprivation, and Sindh carries the burden of unaccounted for refugees.
The situation had been far less complicated were the city district government system in place. Estimation of losses would have been much easier and allocation could have been on the basis of population of these districts. Though, leaders and activists of PPP and PML-N have been the biggest beneficiaries of the local governments they have been avoiding holding LG election, fearing their defeat. Though political leaders don't agree provincial autonomy and local government system provide solution to many of the ills being faced today by the entire country.