Tribute to Mustafa Kamal…

Disclaimer:   This post is not politically motivated. Only inspired by some of my observations during an aimless drive around the city.

You gotta admit. Karachi has been transformed over the past six years. I remember Karachi in 2001 when I left for my hiatus abroad. It used to be a stinking nightmare. Buses, rickshaws and cars honked with frustration in long queues of traffic jams. Pollution hung like a pall in the sky with barely any vegetation in the city. Roads were broken and potholed in all areas. Curbs and footpaths were non-existent or left in ruins. Sewerage water overflowed in a majority of the neighbourhoods. Water was in short supply and tankers used to ply everywhere. Just thinking of those frustrating times is enough to give one a headache.

Contrast that image to now. Traffic flows freely in most areas thanks to signal-free corridors. A lot of major arteries of the city have been re-carpeted… something that had not been carried out in the city for decades. Most of the roads and streets look defined now, with properly constructed curbsides and footpaths. The sewerage system of the city has been fixed in a majority of areas and you dont find overflowing gutters everywhere anymore. A lot of trees have been planted in the city and amenity plots that used to be garbage dumps have been converted into parks. The credit for this vision and for the transformation of this city from an urban disaster to a strident megapolis can largely go to one man: Mustafa Kamal.

A park in Gulshan that once used to be a wasteland

A park in Gulshan that once used to be a wasteland

And this was no small work. Karachi had been a neglected city for decades. I remember road carpeting once being carried out when I was a small kid during the days of Zia-ul-Haq, but the subsequent democratic governments of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto made sure that they did not invest a single penny into the largest city of the country. It was shamefully neglected for a long period of time. Nevertheless, people still came to this city from all parts of Pakistan to make money (being the economic factory that Karachi is). By the time the Musharraf government came to power the city’s infrastructure was crumbling apart under the tremendous strain of its population.

An earlier Nazim (was it Naimatullah?) was elected under the local governments system who did start some repair work for the city, however for the majority of the work that has been done for the city the credit solidly rests on Mustafa Kamal. In the effort to transform this city into a habitable and more contemporary metropolis, Mustafa has shown great vision which most others would have been lacking. And he seems to have his working ethic in the right place. Actually doing something makes you more deserving of credit than merely talking about it and he has really done something for this city.

If I start counting all the improvements that have been made over the past years of his government, I could use up a whole page. However merely a drive down some older localities gives you an idea of the tremendous improvement that can be observed in the city’s built environment. The PECHS to NIPA area once used to be an eyesore. Now the University Road is en route to becoming a beautiful signal free corridor with trees planted on both sides. Land values in the area are also becoming much better. Clifton Kothari Parade used to be Funland, and drug-addict-land surrounded by a barren desert. Now it proudly boasts one of the most historic achievements of Mustafa Kamal – the Bin Qasim park, which will be an iconic park for Karachi for generations.  Sewerage lines of the city, laid down in the British times have been completely re-constructed. I. I. Chundrigar road and countless other roads in the city have been repaired. A traffic video monitoring system is now in place. In short, so much work has been carried out in a few years that the city is on its way to making amends for all the neglect that came its way in the previous years.

What is the point behind this post? Very simple. We in this country are quick to point fingers and take away credit. Appreciation, however, is a little hard to come by. A lot of people commenting on this post will also be wagging their heads in the negative, putting forward one conspiracy theory over the other. But the facts speak for themselves. The city is now on the path to progress and the change over the last few years has been significant. If countries abroad can be more forward than us in naming Mustafa Kamal as an exemplary mayor and nominating Karachi as an exemplary city, why should we shy away from some due appreciation? Bravo Mr. Nazim!

164 Comments so far

  1. kabirdas on June 23rd, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

    @ Wasee
    Now you have confused KD a little bit about the correct translation of ‘City of Father’. Lets revert back to our friend Iffykhi who coined this phrase for its meaning.


  2. fasee on June 24th, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

    @ KD

    Sir my apologies, I was intentially bull$hitting, what I do when me in mood.

    I rememebr once my university teacher remained fazed, on a sentence.

    "He was a man easy to handle"
    "He was a easy man to handle"

    Are the same sentence will same meaning…..he argues inside class, and I said then sir will u pls prove me wrong…becharay sara period sochtay rahay, and the next, till I withrew me question…:):):)

    As I knew I w4 wrong, same as I knew I am wrong this time too


  3. kabirdas on June 25th, 2009 @ 12:26 am

    @ Fasee

    I am fazed too about the two sentences quoted above like your professor.

    Once when I was heading an educational institution (sounds incredible doesn’t it) I was going round the classes checking how the students were doing. In one class room I asked the teacher if the students were working hard ?? He replied:" Yes sir, they are working hardly". His reply created some doubt in my mind as to how the students were working. However, it did not leave any doubt in my mind as to how the teacher had worked when he was a student.


  4. dianujjunaid on June 25th, 2009 @ 3:14 am

    CITY NAZIM,
    MUJTAFA KAMAL NAY KARACHI KA NAKSHA CHANGE KARDIYA AJE TAK ITNA KAAM NAHIE HOWA JITNA CITY NAZIM NAY 4SAAL MAI KIYA (14-08-1947 SA 28-05-2005) TAK KARACHI MAI KIYA HOWA AIK GOVERMENT KHOODAYE KARTI HAI AUR DOOSRI ROAD BANATI HAI JIN KA GHER ROAD SA 2FEET UPER THA UN KA GHER ROAD SA 5FEET NECHA HOGAYE HAI.LAKIN SOUCHOO HUM NAY KIYA KIYA SIRF BAATEE HAMARA FERZ NAHIE THA KA HUM IS SILSILA MAI KUCH TU KARE LAKIN HUM APNE GHEROA MAI ARAAM SA SOUTE RAHE SHEERAM AANI CHAAHEYE HUME. AIK INSAN JOE DIN RAAT KAAM KAR RAHA HAI KARACHI KO BANANA KA LIYA HUM AGER US KO HE BURA KAHA TU KIYA YEA THEEK HOGA NAHIE YEA GHALAT HOGA MARI NIGHA MAI. ALLAH HUM KO HUQ KA SAATH DANE KI TOYFEEQ ATA FARMAYE (AMEEN)


  5. dianujjunaid on June 25th, 2009 @ 3:37 am

    HE MADE BIN QASIM PARK HE WAS ONE OF THE BEST NAZIM IN ASIA
    BUT MR. KAMAL IS SECOND BEST NAZIM IN WORLD SALUTE TO MK FOR HIS GOOD WORK AND TO MQM TO GIVE HIM A CHANCE TO EXCEL .MR. KAMAL U ARE CHANGING THE MAP OF KARACHI THANKS TO ALL CITY GOVERMENT MEMBERS & WORKERS TEAM


  6. ajnabi on June 25th, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

    Mustafa Kamal Proves that Karachi is the biggest city.
    He changed the map of the city. He proves his loyalitym sincerity.
    He is the second Mayor in the world.
    In past years, no one can developed the Karachi city nor wishes to develop except Mustafa Kamal. He is gentl person


  7. بستنی (wasiq) on June 25th, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

    wasiq

    Knowingly, I am treading in a dangerous area, T talking to KD while observed from the bushes by balma an wasiq) while I translate from english to urdu.

    Indeed sir,as you know it happens to be my favorite thing….or it used to be until I lost saima(saima nasir) on 27 dec07 a very regular customer here at KMB she was very good at this….it was a really black day for me…anyways,
    since KD has given his reply there is no room left for me so I come with my own…..in today’s front page of dawn there is a heading which reads
    "US security adviser meets army chief"
    now if my translation is accurate….in your urdu it reads….
    "Ghadey tera hifazati mushir sena pati sey mil giya…..ya milta hai"
    which is very serious in military terms…..

    KD sarkar is this translation ok !


  8. learner on June 25th, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

    I am adding here something for Mustafa Kamal. Tribute in my Words.

    After all what MQM and MK had done for Karachi a city of Pakistan.

    Just look at the words of discouragement. Negative approach.

    Karachiites you should wake-up. I think first of all we should understand that urdu speaking are also Pakistanies so they should be treated alike all other Pakistanies. (Angle = Angle or vice versa)

    Complaining crimes of MQM and MK, how can we forget that MQM peoples are also Pakistanies and they should be given courtesy to act like all other Pakistanies.

    But MK is working for all Pakistanies trying to be good to the Pakistanies, surely MK & MQM should be punished.

    In any way good work should be dumped or hidden as early as possible.

    But these educated stupid Pakistanies (or ??? indians) still like MK and MQM. Hopes this will goes on.

    Learning Pakistani.


  9. kabirdas on June 25th, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    @ learner
    "I think first of all we should understand that urdu speaking are also Pakistanies so they should be treated alike all other Pakistanies."

    Sir, my case is rather tricky. I am a Urdu speaking Punjabi. Shouldn’t I also be treated like other Pakistanies which I am not presently ??


  10. balma on June 25th, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

    I think most Paksitani officials and government employees are so inefficient that anyone who is remotely seen as just doing his job (as in the case of Mustafa kamal Pasha) is considered to be angel.
    It is not that MK is the best, it is that others running the show in Pakistan are mostly kaam-chore, rishvat-khore, nikammay, and clueless.

    In other words, MK is andho’n may kaanaa rajah!


  11. kabirdas on June 25th, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

    @ Wasiq
    "Ghadey tera hifazati mushir sena pati sey mil giya…..ya milta hai"

    This is not English to Urdu translation at all. This is English to Door Darshan’s Hindi translation. English to Urdu translation would be if I am not wrong:

    America kay hifazati musheer ki army chief (no need to say sipah salar or something like that) say mulaquat.

    Any Pakistani who doesn’t know what does army chief mean will also not know what does sipah salar mean:-)


  12. بستنی (wasiq) on June 25th, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

    @KD sarkar…..sir you will have to admit that I was this close…!
    the problem here is that because Iam translating…I cannot use Army chief…..sipah salar is indeed a very confusing word and as an expert of the written british constitution this word never even occurred to me while translating….especially because the news heading was about an american…anyways I’ll consult an urdu dictionary after dusting the dirt and see if I can find the word sena pati or an alternate….


  13. kabirdas on June 25th, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

    @ Wasiq
    "as an expert of the written british constitution"

    Sir, I am glad to know the British constitution has now been written. Pray where can I get a copy of it???


  14. بستنی (wasiq) on June 25th, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

    sorry its a typo….iam also multitasking right now watching the wimbledon live….



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