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After the storm

Rain, usually nature’s gift to mankind, wreaked havoc across the country, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad, during Eid days, thanks to our indifference to precautionary measures and a flagrant disregard for recognised municipality practices. The rainfall which lashed the two major cities of Sindh and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has claimed more than three dozen lives, mainly due to electrocution and collapsing buildings. Life was virtually brought to a standstill in Karachi due to the accumulation of water on streets after the choked sewerage system caved in to the gushing water.
The main culprit that killed over three dozen people in Karachi is electrocution. Rickety transmission lines could not weather the storm and snapped at places. As live wires fell on waterlogged streets, water, the best conductor of electricity, became a source of death for the unfortunate people, who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. The deaths underscore the need to overhaul the power transmission system of Karachi and other cities. As people die, the political circus always sets in for point scoring. We have seen one such exhibition of ugly politics where Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar has been criticising the Sindh government, and not K-Electric, for the deaths by electrocution. He went to a police station to be a complainant in the deaths of three people who died from electric shocks. The police rightly insisted that only the families of the deceased could lodge cases, and at the end, those families claimed their right to be complainants. It is expected they will get justice and K-Electric’s indifference to people’s safety would come to an end. Similarly, it needs to address its chronic practice of resorting to power blackout as soon as the rain starts.
The recent rain in Karachi was unprecedented, and the Sindh government did well to flush out the rainwater. Besides the Sindh ruling party, other political parties too worked hard to mitigate the people’s sufferings. Now, when the rain is over, the storm has left a trail of destruction and a flurry of questions. Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged a comprehensive package for Karachi to improve its infrastructure. That is a welcome announcement and hopefully the package will make a visible turnaround in the civic infrastructure of the city. There should be no politics around the development of cities and rural areas of the country.



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