KARACHI - Senior political leaders based in Karachi, federal government representatives and civil society have warned that collapse of civic infrastructure, rampant corruption and growing sense of deprivation among citizens of Karachi could lead to serious consequences for the country as Karachi’s economic contribution in the national economy was shrinking with each passing day.

Acknowledging that law and order situation in Karachi had improved to a large extent, the political leadership and civil society representatives further called for collaborative efforts by the local, provincial and federal governments in improving city’s civic infrastructure, provision of basic utilities including water, power and transportation so that Karachi could meet the challenges of its growing population and contribute financially in the economic growth of the country.

All the stakeholders also rejected the recent census results and unanimously declared that Karachi’s population was above 25 million people and demanded federal and provincial governments to allocate the resources in accordance with city’s mammoth population, poverty, needs and contribution in the national growth and economy.

They were speaking at an interactive dialogue on “Reviving Karachi”, organised by a local citizen Muhammad Azfar Ahsan at a local hotel.

Azfar Ahsan managed to bring together political leaders of top six major political parties, Sindh Governor as federation’s representative and city mayor under one roof to discuss the future of Karachi while hundreds of businessmen, writers, political workers and elite of the society also attended the interactive session at a local hotel in Karachi.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the Reviving Karachi, Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair said he was first person who talked about reviving Karachi’s past glories and started inviting people from Karachi and the other cities to discuss plans to restart economic activities, revive cultural and social activities and bring improvement in the civic infrastructure of the city.

“This I started because when I was appointed as Sindh Governor, former Premier Mian Nawaz Sharif asked me only thing and that is start working for the revival of Karachi’s economic growth”, the Governor said adding that federal government wants to resolve the problems and issues of Karachi’s business community and common citizens.

Terming revival of Karachi as reviving the economic growth of Pakistan, he said federal government had announced a Karachi package under which several mega projects in the areas of energy, transportation, road infrastructure, water and sewerage and utilities were being initiated and vowed that all the unmet financial needs of the city would be met to restore the shining status of Karachi.

“With the help of China, we are holding a study to prepare Karachi’s traffic plan so that city’s haphazard traffic could be managed,” he said and praised Pakistan Rangers Sindh, Pakistan Army and law enforcing agencies in restoring peace in Karachi through their sacrifices.

Fomer City Nazim and Chairman of Pak Sarzameeen Party (PSP) Mustafa Kamal spoke of city issues and demanded that entire city and its municipal services should be under the command of an elected mayor. He said Karachi needs an additional 650 to 700 million gallons of water per day to meet the requirements of people and urged people to asked for allocation of more water for Karachi whenever they meet provincial and federal government representatives.

Calling for establishment of Garbage Transfer Stations in the city, he said garbage collection and removal was not the task of provincial government and also demanded the provincial government to empower the master plan department of KMC to have a check on unplanned and illegal constructions in the city.

Amir Jamat-e-Islami Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman said biggest loss of Karachi during last 25-30 years’ reign of terror was of its education and culture and now Karachi is ranked among the most illiterate and uncivilized cities in the country.

He called for learning from the past mistakes and urged people to make their decisions wisely, elect those people who are sincere to them and also demanded the government and courts to get Karachi rid of lawlessness of K-Electric.

PTI’s Sindh Chief Dr Arif Alvi said bad governance and corruption were the biggest issues facing Karachi and said until and unless and operation clean up was launched against corrupt officials and people, Karachi’s restoration and revival would remain a distant dream.

Prime Minister’s spokesman and minister of state Dr Musadik Malik claimed that federal government wanted to revive Karachi and make it one of the best cities of the country as well as the region and in this regard, Rs 50 billion package had been approved by the federal government for Karachi.

He urged people of Karachi to keep striving for improvement of their city and said nobody could deprive Karachiites of the basic rights of development, peace and economic development anymore.

Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar said all the political forces and past governments were responsible for the Karachi’s destruction. “But I have high hopes from the federal government and I would also urge the Sindh government to take ownership of this city and eliminate its grievances,” he urged. Initiator of the dialogue Azfar Ahsan, economist Shabbar Zaidi and Mirza Ikhtiar Baig of PPP also spoke.