IBA hosted it's fourth Jang Forum at the Center for Executive Education
IBA hosted it's fourth Jang Forum last Thursday (July 02' 2015) at the Center for Executive Education in it's City Campus. The event was held in collaboration with the Jang Group of Newspapers which bring interesting topics to the forefront and conduct panel discussions to educate and inform people through its print media about pressing issues that Pakistan and its citizens should be aware of. The Jang Forum topic for this event hit close to home as the topic was "What Has the Sindh Government Done for Karachi".
The panelists for the event included Mr. Zubair Tufail (CEO of Tufail Chemicals), Dr. Huma Baqai (Faculty Member and Director of Communications at IBA), Dr. Izhar Hussain (Faculty & Director of Center for Executive Education at IBA), Dr. Minhaj Qidwai (Faculty and Director of the Health Management Program at IBA) and Mr. Zahid Farooq (Associated with Akbar Resource Center URC). Each panelist brought their unique viewpoint based off of their experiences and exposure to the governing bodies.
Dr. Huma Baqai initiated the proceedings by mentioning that Karachi is a city which is self-reliant where individuals rise to take care of their own problems by creating their own community guards, handling smaller problems and helping out each other but over the last 7 years the governmental neglect we've witnessed has been the worst compared to any other province. She also stated that the recent deaths (over 1600 officially reported) in the heat wave could have been totally avoided if the sleeping government had taken any preventive measures. The saviors of the city are Karachiites themselves with businessmen, doctors, NGOs and philanthropists stepping up to watch out for their fellow citizens. She also mentioned one interesting aspect that in comparison to KPK or Balochistan, Karachi and Sindh fare much worse because at least in those developing regions the will to do better exists while the Sindh Government is merely complacent on getting by without taking care of its constituents.
Mr. Zubair continued the discussion providing a business viewpoint to the proceedings. He mentioned the deteriorating situation that was being created in Karachi for businesses as they were less secure thanks to kidnappings, bhatta and parchi and inconsistencies in regulations and oversight. He was grateful for the actions of the Rangers which have brought some measure of safety and security to the populace but he stated there was still a lot of problems afflicting the city. Two problems he identified were the pollution in the city and the water shortage. Mr. Zubair noted that the Sindh Government was to blame as water was being siphoned away from the people and sold back to them through water tankers which were owned by politicians and other agencies.
To address the state of the medical crisis that had transpired in Karachi, Dr. Minhaj was quick to identify that the common man has to blame himself for the current state of the government. We, as a people, have not taken good actions to resolve their issues. He called Karachi a city of multiple problems (a syndrome to borrow medical terms). He said the cure for some of the problems of the city would be to hire a technocrat to oversee the government and become a voice for the common man. There has to be some advisory board and a Consumer Protection Agency to protect the consumers of this populous city.
Dr. Izhar Hussain was quick to identify the poor transport situation in Karachi. He reminded the panelists of the history of Karachi's mass transit infrastructure which has trams, circular railways and a comprehensive bus network. He stated that the situation is regressing with each new mode as we have resorted to travelling on motorcycles (from having mass transit to travelling in qingqis). He stated that the rural areas of Sindh are in such deplorable state that Karachi seems like heaven to these unemployed people. Kacchi abadis are set up overnight and the police has no knowledge of such instances. Our government has become reactive rather than proactive and the media only is interested in spicy news items which have freshness while no follow through takes place.
Other topics were also brought to the forefront which included K-Electrics profit maximizing approach where they only produced or bought electricity which would yield them higher profit margins (Solution: Government should regulate the body as a national asset cannot be completely privatized), Corruption (how Sindh is notoriously corrupt in comparison to any of the other provinces), the exodus of the Sindh Government officials when the Rangers began their operations in the province against corruption, the need for local governance and municipal governments.
The event covered a wide range of topics which the subject experts discussed in depth and the complete story can be found in Monday (July 06' 2015) newspaper edition of the Jang Newspaper. The event closed with the panelists agreeing that there was still hope for the governing body as they could convince people of their worth if they woke up now and took actions to rectify their past mistakes (however the feeling did not seem optimistic for such measures or realization to occur).