Water shortage becomes a hot issue: Misbahuddin resigns, CM decries those exploiting it for political gains
THE issue of water shortage took seri ous turn Monday, as the Karachi Wa ter Board chief resigned his post, and the Chief Minister came down hard upon those “exploiting it to gain political mileage”
But would mere assurances from Qaim Ali Shah that he was looking after the issue, help bring any relief to the people, is a question meriting serious consideration. Karachi has been suffering water shortage for a considerable length of time. The reason was simple. Provincial government not only took lenient view of a problem, inherently explosive in character, but literally sat over it for
long, and now was facing music.
Practically the entire city had been complaining of acute water supply, but some of the areas like Lyari, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, North Karachi, and even post localities like Defence and Clifton, were stung by it.
As the issue gained in intensity, city’s main political party. MQM launched an agitation, and even threatened to send the chief minister home, should its call for solving the crisis, went unheeded. A threat to that effect was held out by party’s MNA Kunwar Naveed Jamil, who was also Zila Nazim of Hyderabad between 2005 and 2010. Street protests, including the siege around the CM house on Sunday was enough to draw attraction of the people. Placard carrying protestors removed hurdles places on their way by police to display their anger and fury, and staged a sit-in front of the chief minister’s house. Such a demonstration was bound to take its toll, which it did within les than 24 hours. The Managing Director of the Karachi Water Board Misbahuddin Fareed became the first victim. He resigned his post Monday, citing ill-health as the reason.
But insiders reported that he was perhaps made a scapegoat, after a delegation of MQM, which had such stalwarts as Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi, Kunwar Naveed Jamil, and others, had met the Sindh Food Minister and former Nazim of Sukkur city, Nasir and the chief minister’s adviser Waqar, promised prompt attention to a problem, hanging fire for quite some time. Nasir formerly was the Local government minister and in that capacity had did some positive work for Karachi and other cities within his jurisdiction. His replacement and switch over to another portfolio was surprising.
But it seemed that MQM had some confidence in him, as the opposition leader in the provincial assembly Khawaja Izharul Hasan, later explained that he would wait for ten days for action on a four-point formula for solving the ticklish issue which he had presented to Nasir Sunday night.
But the chief minister looked unhappy by the MQM stance on having a separate Karachi province. He referred to that in his speech while launching a project in Karachi Monday, and felt that attempt to split Sindh, will be a conspiracy to split Pakistan.
Obviously, the locals, which the PPP proudly claims to be its voters , supporters and sympathisers , feel provoked and irritated over call to separate Karachi from the rest of the Province. However Karachi, being the seat of the government, had to be taken proper care of. Ignoring it would not help overcome the crisis. It would instead give it a fillip, and a demand, howsoever, small and insignificant for the present, is bound to assume horrendous proportions, if remained devoid of a well thought out strategy. The Sindh government had taken some steps to break the water tanker mafia, and had even demolished over 100 illegal hydrants, built over water mains and in areas where water was sold at prohibitive prices. But then political patronage and expediencies became serious obstacles.
The chief minister’s remarks that he would prefer areas inhabited by poorer segments of the society, rather than giving water to posh localities of the rich and well to do people, was correct instance, but even the poorer sections of the society are now suffering, and in fact are worse than those in posh localities.