What Karachi needs?

Few days back, I was having this discussion with Umar about Karachi’s needs. We discussed what would we do if we become Nazim of Karachi.
First thing on my list was poverty. The beggars at every other road signal, young boys selling newspapers and flowers, old-men, new born’ in mothers lap, the bloody beggars business (the only reason why I felt being in power was necessary was because of this beggar mafia and the BIG hands behind them) and the ones who silently sleep hungry without even letting their neighbors know. I think poverty is what needs to be eliminated in the society first. I consider it one of the causes of crime. There should be a center in every poor locality which collects food and clothes from the ones who want to donate (No cash donations at all) and the food be supplied to every house/jhagi/jhonpri in the locality. There should be a school to educate the bare footed kids with a piece of cloth hanging on their bodies and a committee consisting of only non-political volunteers who would run this with donations from students and other people who want to help.
This is my dream for Karachi. A place where no one sleeps with an empty stomach. Where every child can at least read and write and where we have moral values. If I ever be able to do a bit in this I would.
Umar thinks Security is the major issue in this city. and he would work on it. Numerous other things, I can list like electricity, water and sewerage issues, proper town planning, roads, schools etc.
We need someone to come up and I think my food idea to make Karachi is something for which we might not need much effort. I am not very sure if it’s practical, but guys, being Karachiites we need to tackle a step forward other than just me and you accusing every other bloody political party which are parasites on this city.
So any ideas? Any volunteers?

29 Comments so far

  1. mansoor (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

    about ur ‘center in all localities for collecting donations’ i think they’re called Edhi centers.. :p

    my idea would be introduce car-pooling incentives on major roads. one idea is to have a toll collection for every car entering on SF or I.I. Chundrigar which has only one passenger, or only a driver/passenger.

    Obviously the idea needs further refinement etc, but it would greatly reduce the load on a) major roads b) non-existent parking services and c) fuel consumption..

  2. kapray_wala (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 6:27 pm

    I agree.
    “There should be a center in every poor locality which collects food and clothes from the ones who want to donate (No cash donations at all) and the food be supplied to every house/jhagi/jhonpri in the locality”

    I have old clothes to give and end up usuall giving to people who dont neccessaril require them or have already. it would surel be of great help if such a centre wud be around to deposit excess daily food or old clothes. havin a collection point or a center wud be of great help in this regard.

  3. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

    You two lovebirds have too much time on your hands:-))

    Unaiza, though your thoughts are very noble, but instead of starting something (a drive) from scratch, why not join anyone of the multitude of NGOs in this city and contribute your free time (or whatever you want) to them.

    To give you an example, Hasan Zuberi ‘works’ with TCF and I do with Zindagi Trust. And we donate only our free time.

    My two cents…..

  4. Balma (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

    Well, at the risk of sounding extremely boring, here is my suggestion. Population explosion is the biggest problem and root cause of all problems in Karachi. There should be strict rule that women under 25 and men under 30 can not get married in Karachi and in Pakistan. Each couple should not be allowed more than 2 or 3 kids.
    Girls getting married at 16-21 years age (yes, in Karachi) are like baby production machines…they are too productive.
    Stop the population growth, or Pakistan will have more people than India in about 100 years. In just 35 years it managed to have more people than East Pakistan.

  5. BitterTruth (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

    To give you an example, Hasan Zuberi ‘works’ with TCF and I do with Zindagi Trust. And we donate only our free time.

    Please elaborate further what you do in your free time for these trusts?

  6. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

    BitterTruth, just to clarify, I ‘work’ only for one ‘trust’ and not both.

    Secondly, I help them to draft Press Releases, which I have done about as much as 6 or 7 times. And if you like then I could even email all those to you.

    I have helped them in their media work by liaising with newspapers for their releases.

    I have contributed a bit for their website.

    I have taken part in promoting their Bryan Adam’s concert….many of KMB’s authors can support this claim.

    I try to maintain their Orkut community by posting events that they conduct. That is one platform, where many of its volunteers converge and share ideas.

    And then there are many other, small odds jobs, that are too insignificant to mention here.

    Hope this answers your question.

  7. zoya (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

    well i agree with you all
    well my suggestion towards this is we should have some good will places where there should two section one for food where u can collect food from localities who use to waste their left overs from restaurants,hotels marriage hall an serve food their to alland the second section where all can come donate their clothes and what can we do we can hire one or two people who can alter or repair the cloths if needed and then can sell those cloths for very cheep price just get some money for those who did the alteration
    By making these collection centers in posh area and their selling in poor area can help
    in some way
    and to help their we can ask school and college to send students as community work and get some extra credit .

  8. Salman A. (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

    I value all above comments but I were the PM of this country, I would try to build educational institutions on every unoccupied piece of land available in this country. I would give all sort of incentives to bring the most qualified people to the field of education and would make teaching a desirable profession for everyone at primary school to professional college level..

    Ever wonder why our next door neighbor India is so far ahead of us despite having the same issues of population and poverty threat? Believe it not, it is the “Education” stupid that threw us 50 years behind. India gives public school/college/university the same degree of respect and importance as its Mandirs & Masjids and how we treat ours is a shame…

    So devote your time to TUTOR KIDS at all levels, for free, and that is the best service that bloggers and internet surfers can provide to their communities in a 3rd world country like ours…

  9. JWH (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 9:39 pm

    I truly appreciate everyone’s thought on this, but for me the utmost priority would be to provide justice, and eliminate any bias on ethnic, racial, POWER, FINANCIAL or religious terms.
    When true and timely justice is put into act every other issue settles down with time either on its own or with the help of the new society of equals.

  10. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 12:19 am

    Nothing would work., we are HAAD HARAM as Nation.

    You, me & others here work our asses to maintain a lifestyle, for onlookers below our line we are Previliged class, those who are above us they are previliged class.etc etc etc

    My family initiated the free child health care, food & clothing idea in 1997, it was managed nicely by the family volunteer ladies., They together with local residents did the spy work on mediocre white collar area and prepared a database of those who really live hand to mouth and sleep without food without neighbors knowing.

    2 years passed, came 1999 the area mafia started to show up, 1st by taking aaway the lady doctor for HOME attendence of some scum bag wife, then by sending list of things needed by their favorites. Later they wanted the control of food distribution during lunch hour and after maghrib prayers., rangers & locality police who were with us turned a blind eye. then it was given a ethnic color and we shut down the 3 places we had in 2 sq Km area.

    – – – – – –

    goto north nazimabad haidery bus stop. Free food at 12.30 till 1.30 PM urchins from all over come over, take 2 3 packs, eat 1 and sale remaining for Rs. 5 a pack. easy money… no school, no work, free food, free cash, and bonus they get by snatching whatever they can from cars left with half open windows and stuff on the seats…!

    I would say……….NO…to UN Idea.

    1st we need to stand up and get a legislation passed against country wide street begging. Once legislation is enforced, police will be able to act and would be glad to make money out of them like they do from motrocycle walas,

    Only then charity work will give positive signs for betterment of sufferings., like you me and those who feel real bad for them and for betterment of those are born & raised with idea of added pair of hands of begging.

  11. MB (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 1:54 am

    @Unaiza I am really sorry but I guess you have got it wrong & here is why.

    As for question “What Karachi needs’, my simple answer would be “Sincerity “that’s it. The people of Karachi are not sincere about their city. Everyone is not doing his job properly & that’s what is accumulating the complete chaos you see resulting gin poverty, security, education, health & all the problems we usually mention.

    My friend ARB occasionally challenges that I cannot bring 1500 people out of 15 million who could be sincere with this city. Well, I am not the pessimistic and think we do have that many surely but may be scattered or passive that’s why we only seen evil, enlarged.

    Coming back to your statements:
    “Here should be a centre in every poor locality ……………….”
    I disagree to this. Reason is you are providing people a cooked fish. Why don’t you teach them how to catch one? The solution is to eradicate poverty & not to cure it. You can never succeed in curing a disease; you only have to eradicate it. No matter how many Edhi centres you bring in it won’t work. Make poverty the center of the policy. Make education the center of the policy & make health the center of the policy (this is for gov) and see how poverty starts to go down.

    “There should be a school to educate the bare footed kids with a piece . . . “
    Again disagree. Your aim should be to improve the standard of the government schools so that these children could go there easily & because the fee in Gov School is still manageable it won’t be hurdle in learning & if I am not wrong education till primary/matric level is free. The problem is the private education. Did anyone ever bother to understand why parents (who can afford) want their children to be sent to private schools? Would they ever act like idiots of the same standard could be provided in gov schools?

    Umar is right, security is a big issue but it’s related to many sub issues.

    As for bloody politics, don’t forget that these political parties stem their POWER from the ignorance, poverty, non-object oriented education, lack of infrastructure etc.

    For me education is the KEY. No matter what you do, education ( read object-oriented education) is the KEY for any start.

    “So any ideas? Any volunteers?”
    Sure , but what’s the vision?

  12. MB (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 1:58 am

    I am not that** pessimistic and . . .

  13. BitterTruth (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 2:05 am

    @Arsalan Haleem
    Thanks for providing details. The intention was to know how one can contribute and not to judge. I hope it was not annoying to you.

  14. Ali (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 10:58 am

    “People of Karachi are not sincere about Karachi”….without even lookingat it i knew this has to be BELOVED MB!

    Bhai …hte reason we are discussing on this platform is that we do care and wanted to do something abt it…….you might not agree with Unaiza’a ideas ….but passing a sweeping statement like this does nothing to dent your credibility and ability to think clearly!

    We are proposing ideas…and for once ..thanks to UNAIZA….we are actually discussing what we can do ..rather than political party bashing…..

    If u can’t help …..no need for YOUR BIT! Simply stay quiet!

  15. MB (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 11:35 am

    How come discussion shows sincerity ? You see gov & opposition discussing these issues more than you and me, does this mean they are more sincere ?

    I dont get this logic of Because-we-discussed-it-shows-we-are-sincere. Yes indeed its the first step but how come it shows that we are sincere. An evil guy is willing to discuss his crime too, what does that show?

    And for people of Karachi not being sincere to this city is from my observation. I have lived enough with poor & elites to form a confident opinion in this regard. Both are same when it comes to being sincere with this city. The difference is poor dont have time to think anything else but how-to live (read survive) the elite who can do something don’t come out of their selfishness ( On this please watch ARIF HASSAN interview to ARY ONE WORLD on KARACHI ).

    Unaiza showed sincerity. I only have pointed out that the solution she is thinking is wrong.

    Dont i have that right to point out ?

    How can you even start a good work when you are not willing to accept rejection of your ideas.

    You didn’t mention anything wrong in my comment but instead want me to stay quite because i fully disagree to UNAIZA’s view.


  16. khanabadosh (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 11:45 am

    I believe there is a saying in Arabic to the effect: “don’t fight the sea of darkness. Just light a candle”.

    Unaiza and others, do **whatever** you can do by yourself first, whether it is giving food to a starving family, clothes to someone who doesn’t have them, or tutoring a poor child who cannot afford to pay. As you do it, encourage others around you to do whatever little they can.

    May be, just may be, in time the qatra qatra will add up…

  17. Pkhan (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

    Unaiza Nasim’s has a wonderful idea and with the help of volunteers she can achieve that idea by working together, First when we call Karachi Its a BIG Metropolis, lets say you start this project on town basis i.e each town should have a Community Caring Centre, a person inchrge of that centre,other volunteer collect uncooked basic food items(keeping in mind nutrient value),then collect a list of people who are either earning lets say less then Rs.4000.00 with 5 family members, start distributing the food every forthnightly to them or start with single mother or father who does not have source of income or who are below powerty level.
    Not only to distribute food but help them with counseling,medical check ups etc and these all can be done with an hour a day volunteer work. once you start some thing like this there would not be a problem getting the food help but it MUST be managed in a right way.There are people who are willing to contribute but does not know how?
    Wish you good luck

  18. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 12:28 pm

    @BitterTruth, I am glad to answer your questions. I do appreciate your interest as well as sincerety.

    And no offence taken – none what-so-ever.

    Cheers :-))

  19. atif abdul rahman (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 12:41 pm

    although volunteer works, massive change comes from the top. so many aspects to deal with, cizy nazims cant control all aspects, from a practical pov, a nazim will b more concerned abt security than poverty…

    edhi centers are great, just keep supporting them.
    and for poverty reduction, become a robin hood and loot DHA, the land belongs to the people, not the army and not the elites. ive seen so many poor people without a roof on the top struggling to survive besides a mansion in DHA.

    this is how see it: yeh hai pakistan

  20. atif abdul rahman (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

    on a more serious note,
    i want to bring cleanliness awareness.
    i live near the cantt station and for 5 years ive smelled the fresh and old urine emerging besides the train station walls.

    a friend of mine once entered karachi from cantt station, i remember what a wonderful reception he had by the natural perfumery which karachi has to offer.

    besides my main project, which i am yet to complete, all in my mind, for karachi, this one might be a start:

    i call it : ‘The Nature Project’: Lets improve the call of nature.

    Although i havnet thought any thing about how to go about it, all i am thinking of is having a sustainable toilet system at public places.

    Paid toilets dont work for the city hygene, if somehow we can get sponsorships for public toilets????
    instead of various toilet art, how about toilet advertisements? ofcourse, not all ads can fit there, but something like text ads (like google adsense on the web)…i dont know now, havent thought about it.

    but its good to brainstorm isnt it? :)

  21. Ali (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

    MB ….everyone has the right personal right to carry an opinion …but what i objected in your comments is the negativeity…When you use statements like “Whats the vision?” ..it just spells negativeity!……

    Furthermore …a sweeping statement (based on observation) accusing insincerity of citizens must be cautiously used….may be ordinary citizens don’t hae a platform to express their willingness to serve….

    After Oct-earthquake, ppl got (what can be termed as ) a platform ..they were united in the cause..elite, middle class, expats, all citizens contributed ..

    Not doubting your loyalty ..but structuring your comments does have a difference.

    (BTW a word of caution: .a renowned dawn journalists from Islamabad, Mr. Ayaz Amir is also being accused by many of using the same negativeity in all his writings.)

  22. Ali (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

    There are ppl who will support you ….just announce whatever you want to do to help Karachi ….Food, Plantation, CLeanliness, education,arts, theatres … whatever it might be….if it makes a difference you will get support.. coz ppl are sincere enuf to come and support a cause….

    I believe after receiving quite a few suggestions / comments …you will finalise something how to go ahead…..WAITING FOR A FOLLOWING POST!
    GOOD LUck!

  23. MB (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

    O meray pyaray bhai I used the word “”Whats the vision?” to ask what is actually the plan, i need more info.

    It was not meant to mean what you said. Aap toh khud hee galat sumujh ker negative hogai dost.

    “”Whats the vision?” meant give a detail account of what you intend to may be me or others decide to join.

    Kamal hai yaar. . . . lol

    I believe UNAIZA is thinking really good but thats not enough. Good and honest plans without proper planning go down the drain. I just wanted to convey that if she plans to do it in big style , it would be more appropriate to consider some root causes then remedy after illness.

    Umeed hai ab aap ko baat wazeh hogai hogi. Thanks

  24. Ali (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

    “I believe UNAIZA is thinking really good …..”
    Addition of few words, no sarcasm and it all sounds a lot better. Thanks bro.

  25. MB (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 4:58 pm


    My next post will on SINDH BUDGET & some info on health and education which is very related to the root causes of the issues UNAIZA wants to address.

    I hope you will put your views there too for a health discussion.

  26. Salman A. (unregistered) on June 17th, 2007 @ 2:40 am

    “Whats the vision?” what kind of dumb question are you asking? You just can’t ask a girl on KMB if she is 6 by 6 or not. Please retract your query.

  27. Israr (unregistered) on June 17th, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

    IF you do indeed move forward with a plan for a food
    and shelter in every locality , please forward it to me too, i could in fact help get some funds for the seed money

  28. xia (unregistered) on June 18th, 2007 @ 9:09 am


    If I become a Nazim, I will work on building a strong, honest, educated, Allah fearing, and polite city police force.

    At the same time I will plant a Neam Tree outside my House and in my Muhallah.


  29. Fouzia Siddiqui (unregistered) on June 19th, 2007 @ 6:00 am

    Salam All,
    It was interesting reading his blog and the comments…i guess everyone of you are putting in there few cents with the ways that we can improve Karachi…and through dialogue only can people come to some good proposals to act on…
    I think everyone of you will agree that Karachi is at its worst of states at this point of time.. the basic needs of any nation like security, education, food , health are not availavbe in our independent nation of 50 years age. I think the city is too over populous for one city goverment to handle…no where in the world cities are managed in this way… i think noth nazimabad in its own is a city.. nazimabad is a city … gulshan e iqbal is a city…and so on ..it takes hours to travel between these areas in karachi….if we can split our task in smaller portions…and then try to manage each small protion by building infra structure health facilities and improving schools the task can be achievable…if these smaller towns have there own local bodies and have more automnomy and resources to improve…we might have a chance..but on the other hand if we create more goverment post we will be creating more opportunities for bribery and leg pullig as is evident in the rest of Pakistan…
    i agree with the comments on not to provide fish but to teach them how to catch one… providing food and clothing will never be an answer for long lasting success…..measures at grass root level to improve education and provide low key job opportunities might give us a way to improve…

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