Solving Karachi problems is akin to solving Pakistan’s problems: Former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal

MAMOSA Report — Addressing a business forum event at a local hall in Karachi — Pakistan’s financial capital and its most populous city, the former mayor and Pak Sar Zameen Party (PSP) chief Mustafa Kamal said solving problems of a multicultural, multi-ethnic mega city like Karachi will enable solving Pakistan’s problems.

“Pakistan can’t operate without Karachi,” he said. Karachi — the capital of Sindh, Pakistan’s southern province along the Arabian seashore, contributes maximum amount of revenue to the center, analysts say, but has witnessed continued ups and downs and organized crime, mayhem for several years.

“A solution to Karachi’s problems is the solution to Pakistan’s problems,” Kamal said. “The government must facilitate the business community” of Karachi, he added.

The former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party member who became popular for his turnaround management of the metropolis during Musharraf era, said the number of votes in favor of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2013’s elections reflected the collective disappointment of the Karachiites for MQM and its founder Altaf Hussain.

“Altaf Hussain continues to make efforts to turn Muhajirs against members of other ethnic groups,” he said. Our slogan is to eliminate the ethnic divide and unite everyone under the flag of Pakistan, Kamal said.

He blamed the party founder for the downfall of MQM and Muhajirs.

“We [PSP] won’t accept charity, donations or zakat,” said Kamal. “We will dissolve the party the day we take a single wrong action.”

He urged the government should focus on making the process of population census transparent.

After 19 years, the state has decided to conduct the census in the country and without any doubt this is a matter of the future generations as a new foundation is going to be laid with the exercise, said Kamal.

The pillars of the state, which include the government, judiciary, media and other institutions, should play their vital role in making the process of census transparent, he said. The PSP chief added that the government should conduct the census with complete honesty and transparency as this alone can ensure the distribution of resources among the public.

Kamal reiterated his demands for empowering the local government institutions. He added that this is the only way that the public can be best served otherwise it is only the citizens who are going to suffer.

The PSP chairperson was of the view that in no country, the prime minster and chief minister are responsible for solving matters pertaining to health, education, water and infrastructure. These issues, according to him, fall under the purview of municipal authorities since they are closer to the public and are aware of what they are suffering from. He said that this is no doubt a key to success for a state and, therefore, powers should be given to the local government system with honesty.

He suggested that to control crime, policing should be done on community level.

Kamal stressed the importance of the private sector and industries. Their importance in economy and society is undeniable. Therefore, he said, they also deserve great support from the government in order to keep their businesses running.

The business community can easily shift their businesses abroad and then can live free of stress as they will not have to pay any extortion, said Kamal. But if they leave, the hardworking laborer and middle class will die of hunger as most of the jobs are provided to these people by the industries.

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