The torrential rain in Karachi caused unprecedented chaos in the crowded metropolis, and as the waters recede the conversation has turned to identifying the causes and fixing them. While this is the correct progression in the life cycle of the crisis it is important to draw a clear distinction between seeking solutions and assigning blame. The first is a constructive action, which should eventually lead to these solutions being implemented; the second merely seeks to shrug responsibility and erect a lightning rod for public anger.

The cause for this concern stems from the recent action taken by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), which on Saturday announced that it has initiated a formal investigation against K-Electric over electrocution incidents in Karachi during the monsoon season. There is undoubtedly a need to review the operations of all departments working in the energy production and dissemination network; faulty maintenance, shoddy installation and gross negligence of the power infrastructure resulted in hours of outage and many electrocutions. Sanctioning K-Electric and other departments will certainly deter them to improve performance in the future.

But it must be remembered that is not the solution to this problem, nor are power companies the only stakeholders responsible for Karachi’s woes.

Water drainage and waste management, unregulated and unchecked construction, and inefficient emergency response mechanisms all contributed to causing the perfect storm that befell Karachi.

Any serious move to prevent such problems from happening again would require an over-arching and all-encompassing solution. Ad-hoc policymaking has been the bane of the city’s infrastructure; its solution must not suffer from the same fault.

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A proper solution is cannot be reactive and isolated; it needs to come from top of the provincial bureaucracy and legislative assembly. Anything else would be half-hearted eyewash.