Political orphan


It ought to shame the whole country really that a reputed international finance magazine has declared Karachi’s public transport system the worst in the world. The report, which was published in the famous finance news outlet Bloomberg, pointed out that the once called ‘city of lights’ used to have a pretty impressive circular railway system, which was simply eaten up by corruption and mismanagement, like so many other things in the city now rightly referred to as a ‘political orphan’. The city was on something of a downtrend for quite a while, but things began to become particularly bad with the onset of our so-called decade of democracy in the 1990s. It is now very clear that many of the influential and powerful families that were able to muscle their way into the most prominent political parties and then find themselves in positions of power ate into the very fabric of the country.
It is a monumental tragedy that what was once one of the most cosmopolitan and dynamic cities in the whole world and continues to be the country’s business hub has been allowed to rot in the way that it has. Blessed with one of the most important ports in the region, it once overshadowed cities like Dubai, Beirut, Hong Kong and Singapore in terms of attracting the global business elite. Now it hardly appears on their radar.
A bigger problem is that even those few in the government that really want to address this situation don’t even know how or where to start. There was much noise recently about a federal program for the city, and one was introduced with much fanfare, but soon enough there was even more noise that made it too controversial to even go on and it seems that the initiative has already run out of steam. Sooner or later, though, somebody would have to take this particular bull by the horns. And the longer the whole process takes to start the more work will eventually have to be done, which of course will run into even more money. As things stand, Karachi has been reduced to a giant shanty town which will struggle to remain the national business hub for much longer unless something is done about its many, many problems.