Its been almost 8 years since I left my hometown, Karachi. I still remember the day when I was bading goodbye to all my friends and the amazing teachers. At that time (back in 2008), Mustafa Kamal was the mayor of Karachi and he was constructing underpasses, overhead bridges and 4 lane roads. I along with the rest of the citizens had hope that the city which is the industrial hub of Pakistan will get improved and the lives of people will be at peace because of fewer traffic jams and congestion.
However the last time I visited Karachi , I literally (without a joke) had tears in my eyes. Coming from airport to my apartment, all that I witnessed was vehicles coming from the wrong direction. Even the people who looked educated from their appearance were riding the wrong way. On service lane I noticed that cars were coming from both sides even though it was meant to be one-way. People were breaking the traffic signal and there was no police to monitor.
To see the condition of my city being deteriorated with passing days makes me feel sad and I feel like questioning the citizens. Obeying the traffic rules and proper law and order will not make people reach late to their offices, university or meetings. Then why do they not follow the rules? The very same individual who breaks signal here is extremely vigilant when he/she goes abroad in order to avoid the fine. Then why cant we all do the same in Karachi when it is our own city. Every single person can make a difference if he/she starts following rules rather than following the crowd.
The city which was at its peak in the 70’s during Bhutto’s regime and the map of which was used to make what Dubai is now is slowly being destroyed in front of our eyes,yet a little is being done. My point here is not to criticize anyone because I do acknowledge that a lot of good stuff has happened in past 8 years. For instance, Dolmen mall which is the biggest indoor shopping mall of the country has been built, there are a lot of amazing restaurants like Do-Darya and some resorts that have been built. There are also a lot of NGO’s being run to educate the poor. However my point is that we still need to do a lot in order to improve our city which has been attached with a negative connotation. Even within the country, people think of Karachi as a place which is overly crowded with all the terrorist activities going on. For instance, every time I travel from Lahore airport, the guard stops me because I am from Karachi and checks my bag to make sure everything is fine. Like seriously?
When I visited Karachi last time I asked my uncle who was lamenting about the city’s condition that why don’t you do something? He was like, ‘Bass beti, ham kya kar sakte hain…hokumat kuch nahi karte…awaam behes hai…waghira waghira’
Why is it that we consider ourselves so helpless that we cant do something?? I question myself a lot of times because I know for sure that even though it is very hard for one single person to bring a change but at least we should give it a try. Also ager hokumat kuch nahi karti tou pehle baat, hum us hokumat ko vote kyun dete hain aur dosri baat…ager wo kuch nahi karti tou hum bhi tou chup hain. We should speak for our right. For example if traffic police is not performing the duty, we have the right to be protected against accidents and should protest to ensure they work properly. Lastly…those who say ‘awaam behes hai, they have become heartless etc.’ Aap bhi us awaam ka hissa hain tou instead of accusing others, one should start from himself.
Words aren’t enough of how much I love my city and I know that most of you do the same but we need to do something to improve the condition. To make it once again the pride of the nation and a tourist destination. That something need not be big, we all can start from ourselves…to obey the rules, to help the needy of the city, to plant trees on footpaths etc. As it was recently stated by Obama, ” Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek” .