It was in the nineteen sixties that I first visited Pakistan’s former Capital and largest Port - Karachi. It was an unforgettable trip as the city was then alive with its day time commercial energy and its glittering night life. Having adopted a professional career, I have visited this metropolis a number of times between then and now. I have, during this period watched it go through good times and bad, but now one can see that not only Karachi, but Sindh is suffering from a fatal infection engineered by its own elected provincial government, which has crossed all limits of corruption and poor governance.

The political team mandated to effectively run the province is regretfully led by an octogenarian with cognitive and leadership faculties suggesting that he would perhaps be better off in a retirement home. This individual is reported to be honest (which in my opinion is a relative term), but good governance is not dispensed by honesty alone. People reap the benefits of leadership through intelligent planning, vision and seamless implementation. The Provincial Chief Executive and his ministers appear to be bereft of any of these attributes.

A case in point is the current monsoon season. The meteorological department had forecast early rains and a twenty percent above normal precipitation this year. The warning should have triggered all concerned into hectic activity. Funds should have been released for cleaning of ‘nullahs’ or seasonal water courses that drain rain water from the city, clogged storm drains should have been reopened, emergency pumping arrangements put in place along with measures to ensure that power breakdowns did not occur. None of these things were done until Karachi had its first pre monsoon downpour after a dry spell of almost three years. Roads and localities were flooded with water and sewage, most areas of the city were engulfed in darkness with no drinking water and traffic came to a standstill. It was then that the Chief Minister arose from his slumber and released a sum of forty eight crore for cleaning of water courses. This belated move could be termed as nothing less than criminal, if reports saying that the amount had been dedicated earlier for this purpose are true. What logic or restraint prompted the Provincial Head to keep these funds close to his chest until disaster actually struck, is anybody’s guess.

In a recent television talk show, the Sindh Minister for ‘Baldiaat’ was grilled by the anchor on the government’s failure to preempt the effects of heavy rain. The minister stuttered and blundered his way through the questions, where the only coherent phrase coming through was an irritated ‘mujhe baat complete karnay dain’. I was at a total loss to understand what the minister was trying to say and what on earth was he endeavouring to complete. As the interview progressed, the individual’s ineptness became evident and his explanation drifted further and further away from the truth.

It was during the same talk show that a celebrated media person appearing as guest stated that the provincial government could be held accountable for only thirty four percent of Karachi, since the remainder was under the control of other authorities. What the gentleman conveniently forgot was that these ‘other areas’ did at least make an effort to ensure that adverse effects of inclement weather phenomenon was minimised through planning and response. These ‘other areas’ were also relatively free of ‘other issues’ that plagued citizens in parts of the city administered by the Minister of ‘Baldiaat’.

Even without the monsoons to complicate Karachi’s woes, Pakistan commercial hub suffers from serious problems. Residents of many localities have to actually negotiate stinking sewage to reach their homes, while elsewhere sewage has leaked into the water pipes making the resulting liquid unfit for consumption.

Hospitals have become breeding grounds for disease with sanitation standards that are abysmal. To make matters worse there has been an unchecked outbreak of pseudo hospitals run by quacks, where treatment is likely to speed up the patients’ departure from this earthly abode rather than provide a cure.

Add to this the fact that the police has been politicised and corrupted beyond repair along with other public service organisations and utility providers, turning the lives of citizens into a nightmare. If one was to describe the situation in Sindh in general and Karachi in particular, there would be no hesitation whatsoever in saying that the PPP Government in Sindh had no moral locus standi to continue in office.

The political team mandated to effectively run the province is regretfully led by an octogenarian with cognitive and leadership faculties suggesting that he would perhaps be better off in a retirement home.