Karachi: A roundtable conference on the topic of “A public-private partnership for a clean Karachi” was recently organized by the Karachi Citizens Forum at the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) House in Karachi. The program was conducted by Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad, Secretary-General, PMA. The event was attended by Nargis Rahman, Chairperson, Pakistan Women’s Foundation for Peace, Kamal Azfar, former Governor Sindh, Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, General-Secretary, PMA Karachi, Dr S Tipu Sultan, Former President of the PMA Centre, Naval Wasvani and Barrister Murtaza Wahab, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Law, Environment and Coastal Development. Dr Qazi Wasiq, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, and Dr Ismail Memon also spoke on the occasion
Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad informed the participants that there was an increase in the number of cases of waterborne diseases, mosquito, and fly borne diseases, skin infection, conjunctivitis, and other diseases primarily due to unhygienic conditions in the megacity. Karachi did not need any new civic laws but strict enforcement on the existing ones, to make this megacity livable. He further added that there were about 30,000 garbage pickers and scavengers in Karachi who contracted several diseases. This was because of collecting garbage improperly, which was the primary cause of epidemics in the city.
Nargis Rahman said this was an important action that needed to be implemented. The citizens also indulged in delinquent behavior, including littering, garbage burning, water contamination or water theft, and disregarding the basics of civil living. “In this connection, we met vital stakeholders, Ulema, educationists, industrialists, traders, and were given a very patient hearing and promised support,” Nargis added.
“Industrialists and traders, as captains of industry and wealth, can take up responsibilities in treating their effluents, keeping their premises, service lanes, clean and organized, and beautifying roundabouts parks playground, at a meager cost as we would introduce them to involved relevant groups,” Chairperson, Pakistan Women’s Foundation for Peace said.
“We are shocked at the dissonance, reprehensible division of authority, responsibilities, and the lack of coordination collaboration and cooperation between the 18 different agencies responsible for Karachi’s civic governance or bad governance,” Nargis Rahman said.
Nargis further said that Karachi needed a master plan as its problems couldn’t be solved without a master plan. She expressed hope that under the leadership of advisor Murtaza Wahab, Karachi would get a new master plan.
Kamal Azfar informed the participants that three master plans were prepared for Karachi in the past, and the ‘Karachi Improvement Act’ was also passed. We do not need new laws but need to work on the city’s infrastructure to solve its problems. He stressed the need for empowering the Mayor to resolve the civic issues of Karachi.
Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro talked about the burden of diseases in the city and said that due to the civic crisis, diseases like diarrhea and typhoid were already widespread in Karachi. “Now, its residents are combating drug-resistant typhoid, which is not easily cured,” he added.
Naval Wasvani was of the opinion that corruption is involved in lifting garbage. He said that garbage heaps were sold and were not lifted until the maximum rate was offered.
Dr S Tipu Sultan said that the burden of diseases was increasing day by day in Karachi due to the unavailability of clean water. Worsening sewerage systems and heaps of garbage were adding to the miseries of the people. He added that corruption was one of the main reasons behind this mess.
Barrister Murtaza Wahab was also among the guests of honor at the round table conference organized by the Karachi Citizens Forum (KCF). In his concluding remarks, he requested all the stakeholders and responsible institutions to come forward for collective efforts to solve the civic problems of Karachi.
Talking about the topic of the conference aimed at initiating dialogue on ‘Creating a Clean and Green Karachi through Public-Private Partnership, Wahab said that the Sindh Government was confident that solution to the city’s problems lied in introducing public-private partnership models in various sectors. “We need to invest more in public-private partnerships and set aside politics to clean the city,” Murtaza added.
Barrister Murtaza further said that Karachi’s issues could not be solved until the citizens, too, made efforts in this regard. “The ground realities needed to be considered in order to come up with practical solutions,” he added.
Murtaza Wahab, also pointed out that only talking about corruption will do little to solve the problems. “Instead, we need to focus on addressing actual issues,” he noted.
Barrister Wahab apprised the participants of the conference saying that “a master plan for Karachi is being prepared,” and the Chief Minister has constituted a committee to work on the development of Karachi. The committee members included the city’s significant stakeholders and engineers.
Murtaza Wahab appreciated the members of the Karachi Citizens Forum for organizing this roundtable conference and their keenness towards solving the garbage and sewerage issues of Karachi. He emphasized on continuing such meetings in the future.