Heavy rains cripple Karachi

Published: September 13, 2011

Monsoon rains forecast to extend into Wednesday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS

Monsoon rains forecast to extend into Wednesday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS Stock exchange, businesses, schools and most banks closed; monsoon rains forecast to extend into Wednesday. PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Floods triggered by monsoon rains crippled Karachi on Tuesday, with few people able to make it to work or school, officials said.

Pakistan, regarded as one of the world’s most unstable countries, is haunted by memories of last year’s epic floods, which brought widespread criticism of the government because of its slow response.

Over 800,000 families remain without permanent shelter from last year’s country-wide floods, aid groups say, and more than a million need food assistance.

Pakistan’s already unpopular government now faces another crisis as monsoon rains which have killed 200 people sweep through southern Sindh province.

New flood waters have made about 280,000 homeless, destroyed or damaged 1.2 million houses and flooded 4.5 million acres since late August, disaster management officials and Western aid groups say.

In Karachi, the capital of Sindh, rain was forecast through Wednesday at least.

Many streets were impassable, cars were stuck, several fuels tations were inundated and no visible efforts were underway to drain water.

“We have recorded 50-100 mm (2 to 4 inches) of rain in Karachi and the situation is pretty bad. Many main roads and areas are inundated at the moment and it can turn even worse,” said

Mohammad Hussain Syed, the city’s district coordination officer.    He said no casualties had been recorded.

Officials at Pakistan’s main stock market in Karachi said they will close early at noon due to negligible attendance and thin trade volumes. . Many banks were also closed.

“I thought I would be able to make it to work, but it was a wrong decision. Now I am stuck. My car has broken down and I can’t even find anyone for help,” said banker Khalid Hussain standing knee-deep in water.

Monsoon rains sweep the subcontinent from June to September and are crucial for agriculture.

The 2010 floods killed about 2,000 people and made 11million homeless in one of Pakistan’s worst natural disasters.

One-fifth of Pakistan was then submerged in water — an area the size of Italy — and the government faced a $10 billion bill to repair damage to homes, bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

Aid workers expressed fears over possible outbreaks of diseases linked to the new floods, especially among children.

Karachi, on the Arabian Sea and the country’s main port, contributes about two-third of the government’s total taxrevenue and 25 percent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product, according to officials.

Floods are the last thing the city of 18 million people needs.

Political and ethnic violence, organised crime, drug gangs and Muslim militancy have destabilised Karachi, prompting recent calls for a military crackdown.

Neighbouring India has also been hit by floods, which have killed more than 300 people and affected close to nine million since monsoon rains started in June, said the Indian Red Cross.

The Islamabad government, reliant on an $11 billion IMF loan to keep the economy afloat, will face another major setback  if floods cause heavy damage to the vital agriculture sector.

Pakistan may also have lost up to two million cotton bales, or about 13 percent of its estimated crop, due to heavy monsoon rains during harvesting in Sindh, government and industry officials said.

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Reader Comments (62)

  • A J Khan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 12:06PM

    Where is that mega system created by the most efficient Nazim of Karachi Mr Mustafa Kamal at a cost of Rs 130 Billion. Has it gone down the drain with the rain.

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  • aqeel
    Sep 13, 2011 - 12:17PM

    Thanks to weather, at least it rained in Karachi. I would say to those people who cannot afford to come out of those areas where the rain has effected the most. That do not vote to MQM never again. its their duty to give them a proper residence. If they cant give them a proper residence than they must not hold the NA seats. All of us have same rights, but these our elected members just dont think of us after when they win the seats. they all get good funds, which obviously goes to their own bank accounts for their leisure travels to UK and USA and Middle East. I suggest that we must give it a change and some one has to do it. We need a change from our traditional historic parties. We need a new face a new man , a new spirit who will come and give us a new Pakistan. A true Pakistani who is not Corrupt, who is not biased, who does not support USA or EU. Who would have his own policies, an educated thought to make a change in our Country. Who will teach us all how to respect our Country, its rules and regulations.

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  • Bilal
    Sep 13, 2011 - 12:50PM

    I love the fact that Islamabad never gets crippled like this :)

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  • xoxo(karachi)
    Sep 13, 2011 - 1:07PM

    @Bilal:

    its already a lifeless city. No question if getting crippled

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  • pakistani
    Sep 13, 2011 - 1:30PM

    @aj khan. Open your eyes. where the drains are built there is no flooding. entire defence has the drains hence no flooding you will only find water standing on empty plots but not where the drains are built.. Had kamal given more time the entire city would have had drains..

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Sep 13, 2011 - 1:35PM

    @A J Khan:
    NO!!! All the MQM leaders have become millionaires in this short span when the MEGA SYSTEM was being constructed!!!

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  • hammad
    Sep 13, 2011 - 1:40PM

    @ A J fool Khan, the system is still there, the system he installed was according to the average amount rain annualy in Karachi. this time the rain is abnormal, havnt you followed the US floods last weeks, even NewYork got flooded and got power cuts for hours

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  • H.A. Khan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 1:41PM

    Infrastructure in Karachi has totally broken down. Where is all the money that was spent on building infrastructure in Karachi in last 10 odd years.

    Karachi contributes over 50% of GDP, and what funds does it get from Federal Govt for building infrastructure??

    and by the way KPT, and other entities were forced to build some of the infrastructure( flyovers,underpasses etc) from their funds by ex-President Musharaf

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  • Shahzad S. Janjua
    Sep 13, 2011 - 1:44PM

    Our sins are paying the price, welcome to the real world. If we keep on blaming the govt and don’t look inside us. Where no matter which income group a person belong spend above his shoulder on wedding, where rich spend so money on dresses and costemic and on phone and gadget.

    Then having this I don’t feel surprised or feel sorry, except to ask Allah Subhan Waa Taalah to forgive my and other people sins that we all are bearing in the shape of the present of the coming govt and in the shape of natural calamity.

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  • Sep 13, 2011 - 1:52PM

    Karachi is in dire need of Mustafa Kamal

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  • Aamer Khawaja
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:19PM

    @xoxo(karachi):
    Looks like you’ve never been to Islamabad then.

    Mustafa Kamal’s worthless planning, 130Billion sent down the drain, but no drainage system in Karachi.

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  • Dr. Asqad Sadick
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:24PM

    Dear Pakistanis…lets ask the governmant what happened to the loads of aid…in kind and cash that came to Pakistan last year?? The new floods are a welcome sign to our corrupt masters (MQM included), to make hay while the rains sweep. Lets get on to the streets (but please after the rains or we will all be electrocuted) and be united for once.

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  • Vaqar
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:28PM

    @pakistani

    Surely Kamal did not build the drains in Defence as that area was outside his control. I am not taking away anything from some ggod work done by Kamal though, especially with roads and flyovers.

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  • Aamir
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:41PM

    Local government system was abolished by pro democracy governments in all provinces to add misreries to the people of Pakistan. Thanks to corrupt regime of PPP which is of the view that local government is system is useless.

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  • Beautiful Soul
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:42PM

    @ Pakistani …..DHA has made the drains in Defence , not the CDA or your Mr.Kamal .How much more time did he needed ??? he completed his tenure didnt he ???

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  • Lobster
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:43PM

    @A J Khan:
    Isn’t it self explanatory? It was just paper work, the underpasses and roads were flooded even during his tenure. Nobody can steal drains, if you don’t find them on roads, they were never built. Mustafa Kamal did build roads but didn’t do planning, otherwise there wouldn’t be traffic congestion as before and no road flooding. Accept the ground reality!

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  • Ali
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:44PM

    thank you india for releasing tons of water into pakistan, you spent the entire year blocking water then when it rains you flood

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  • Jawwad
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:50PM

    @ aqeel: what do u tink of PPP?? Arnt they resp too for KHI.. Infact the whole of Sindh…
    Ppl.. Pl don’t vote to PPP either…
    Its just sad this voice will reach only the elite few who are educated.. All these will be reelcted by our very own illetrate masses next time :(…Recommend

  • Sep 13, 2011 - 2:51PM

    Pakistan, regarded as one of the world’s most unstable countries…

    “Pakistan is bad” theme can be read in all articles now.

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:54PM

    @Iftikhar-ur-Rehman:
    System needs to be maintained also…. Don’t be so vain.it is not bein managed you all just need something to pick on. MQM did a great job… Gut it

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  • Karachite
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:56PM

    Mr.AJ Khan, The most efficient Nazim was forcibly made to vacate his position almost 3.5 years back. Since then neither him nor his concerned party is involved in the upkeep of the city . Even an excellent state-of-art house will also give you a deserted look , if it is not properily maintained for 3 years or more. Instead of blaming Mustafa Kamal , one should be thankful to him for the bridges , underpasses and the lyari express way which were built during his tenure and using them we safely manages to travel to and fro from one place to another.

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  • R. Khan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:56PM

    Mustafa Kamal did a fantastic job!

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:58PM

    For all non Karachiites… Karachi is our city and majority voted for MQM we still believe mustafa Jamal did a great job. You want reconciliation with us then respect the mandate. We don’t plunder like your feudal leaders…. We don’t break levies to save our side of the place and destroy the whole village. So stop this witch hunt and if you are half as intelligent as you think you are then do a balanced assessment. Nothing is all good ir all bad.. This absolutism has destroyed us and continues to do so

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  • Raghib
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:00PM

    For PAST THREE years, there are ZERO new projects and ZERO maintenance activities over previously developed infrastructure. Even you build World Class Infrastructure it DOES require maintenance!

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:03PM

    Karachi gives 60% to the kitty which is plundered by non Karachi people while the city gets pittance. Our rights have always been usurped. If we earn it we spend it before it goes for beautification f Islamabad. My city suffers while non- Karachi people tell us it doesn’t happen in Islamabad.

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  • Azmat
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:05PM

    @Vaqar:

    Actually, the drains in DEFENCE were made by the CDGK, despite the fact that the area does not fall under its control. The major ducts were laid down by the CDGK.

    Those who actually live in Karachi, whatever their political sympathies lie, cannot deny the amazing work done by Mustafa Kamal. The guy put in decades of work in the few years he was given to serve.

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:07PM

    @A J Khan:
    Have you heard of a thing called maintenance. Does your car run perpetual or you maintain it? Mustafa kanal was working on a great development plan but illiterate masses of Pakistan don’t like representative government so job couldn’t be completed. 130 billion is pittance. Sharifs deliberately stopped funds for Karachi and bibi was too busy in plundering. City in neglect for decades need time to recover. And then these katchi abadis den of crime are a sore to the eye

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  • Azmat
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:08PM

    @Beautiful Soul:

    Please go check with the DHA officials. The drains were designed and made by CDGK.

    Secondly, if you were given the task and the funds to fix what has been broken down for decades, i am sure you’ll need a similar amount of time to fix.

    Let’s please give the devils its due. No one denies the fact that a ton of money must have gone in to the pockets of a select few, but by the same virtue, no one can deny that Karachi is a much, much better place today, thanks to that guys efforts.

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  • Hassan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:09PM

    Yes Mustafa Kamal is going to transform into a suction pump and drain all the water all hail Mustafa kamal…

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  • cool
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:32PM

    The ‘mega system’ you guys are mentioning has to be maintained too. how can you ridiculously expect for it to remain perfect for years without maintainence? why was the city not flooded like this in the last two years?

    In the last two years, it was only Clifton and Defence which was flooded. If Mustafa Kamal was still there, he would have made sure that the drainage system was cleaned and maintained, hence avoiding this situation.

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:33PM

    @Hammad the intelligent
    New york faced a full fledged hurricane Irene where as Karachi faced few hours of rain.

    @xoxo(karachi)
    How Islamabad is lifeless? It is the Pakistani city with highest population density difference is it is well planned. I bet if karachi recieved as much rain as Islamabad gets every year you would have been floating somewhere in Arabian sea.

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  • FZ
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:40PM

    I would have Mustafa Kamal rather than anyone else as Mayor even if he belongs to MQM.

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  • Hassan Farooq
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:43PM

    There is no doubt that 130 billion rupees have been spent on putting a drainage system in place at Karachi and this huge amount of money has rightly been spent but the system that has been put in place is to drain the blood of thousnads of poor and innocent people of Karachi. Had they not used 130 billion rupees to purchase weapons, they would not have been able to have such an effecient Blood Drainage System in Karachi. See, such a ocean like quantity of blood has been drained and nothing has happened to anybody. People are still in love or may be a forcefully imposed state of love with THEM……

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  • roundabout
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:52PM

    I am sure none of you has witnessed the rains and the deluged that folowed n July 1977, If Mustafa Kamal had not done what he did, you would be stranded somewhere and not writing your comments against Kamal. I would also give credit to Mr Naimatullah who set the precedent for developing Karachi that was follwed up by Kamal.

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  • syed Imran
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:55PM

    How about a few Dams constructed so that Sindh is saved of these calamities as our Politicians do nothing but impede all developmental works. Kalabagh Dams is surely one good project and rest we can plan many more down stream.

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  • syed Imran
    Sep 13, 2011 - 3:57PM

    Where is MQM developed infrastructure worth more than 500 billions spent by Mustafa Kamal. Surely 50% has gone to MQM pockets

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:26PM

    @syed Imran:
    Ask your party to do it when it comes to power. Not our problem.

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:33PM

    @roundabout:
    Representative system of local government which you all oppose. Credit still goes to MQM that they did what they were brought in to do

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  • A J Khan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:35PM

    @pakistani:
    DHA does not form part of City District Government. It has its own organization. Had it been part of Mustafa Kamal’s domain, it would have given the look of Laluketh and Azizabad the vatican of MQM.
    So please donot support corruption and ethnicity. Be a Pakistani as you have named yourself.

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:37PM

    @syed Imran:
    I am hopeful IK will build the Kalabagh Dam… That would be fun

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  • A J Khan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:40PM

    @Karachiwala:
    @FZ:
    @R. Khan:
    Please don’t cry baby if you are so satisfied with the work of Mustafa Kamal.

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  • Mannaman
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:40PM

    @Pakistani, DHA drains were build by DHA it self, charged lots of money to the residence. Sorry it has nothing to do with Kamal. In fact all land mafia are hindering the flow of water with unauthorized buildings. Recommend

  • guest-worker
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:40PM

    This is what happens when an agri country turns nuclear. Canals and better irrigation should have been our priority. As it stands we irrigate with tube wells and use our canals as sewerage channels

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  • ik
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:31PM

    Think about the future govt. of Karachi – Do you want MQM to repeat to same mistakes or should we give Imran Khan a chance to correct the mistakes made by MQM

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  • A
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:44PM

    Now CDGK is not under Mustafa KmalaRecommend

  • Lobster
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:46PM

    @Karachiwala:

    Well, you can’t maintain what is not there! If there had been drainage system, it would have existed, probably clogged due to non-maintenance but they can’t vanish.

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  • Aamir
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:11PM

    It just amazes me every time I see expert commentary on Karachi by people not living here or even not visited it once! Get your lives, guys! We don’t receive 4 inches of rain every now and then! Even NYC and Chicago got flooded by extraordinary rains.

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  • Tahir
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:42PM

    I will not vote MQM next election, they have always looked to get into coalion and have compromised on their manifesto on issues like feudalism. Educated people can not have leaders like Altaf Hussain.Recommend

  • Omair Shahid
    Sep 13, 2011 - 7:50PM

    Mustafa kamal has done some good work but when it comes to drainage system they waste alot of money but to no affect but this is a failure of both the government & people as people including me throw trash on the roads & streets which get struck in drains & government failure is building small & improper drainage system resulting in water overflowing.

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  • Born Again Pakistani
    Sep 13, 2011 - 7:50PM

    @Lobster:
    True and you cant do anything to ignorant,

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  • Danish S
    Sep 13, 2011 - 8:50PM

    Yea, i’m not a big fan of MQM, however, criticism against Mustafa Kamal are a bit harsh. As he has pointed out a multitude of times, Karachi is owned and controlled by several agencies. About a quarter of Karachi comes under the Nazim’s control rest is controlled by Cantonment, Railway, Navy, KPT etc. As you all know he can’t build stuff outside of his jurisdiction. Law of physics says that water flows down hill. Almost all of southern part of Karachi is controlled by Cant. or other agencies where Nazim does not have jurisdiction. If those agencies create better drainage system then the water will probably drain better from the rest of the city. Just my two cents.

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  • Mark Twirtschaftzer
    Sep 13, 2011 - 8:59PM

    I am a Philosopher

    I can assure you that it is our sins that were converted into water drops and now they are in the middle earth – remember lord of the rings/

    All the sins that you and I commit go into the ecological system where they are converted into either Fire, Air, Water, or Earth; this time it was water. We must feel happy that our sins are no more in the universe , they have seeped down from the earth to other worlds where others will be bearing the burden for our sins.

    Now since we are clean. let us not commit sins otherwise next time it could very well be Fire or Air, in either case, it would be inevitable destruction.

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  • Shahid Khan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 10:29PM

    @hammad: please stop defending the good for nothing self proclaimed leaders

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 10:53PM

    @ik:
    Anytime!

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 10:54PM

    @Shahid Khan:
    Is it your way or highway?

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  • Parvez
    Sep 13, 2011 - 11:54PM

    Poor adminstration is responsible for Karachi’s mess. All that is needed is common sense to keep the mouth of the drains clear and the pumping system that discharges tthe drain water into the sea working. If there is no electricty for pumping there are generators as back up. Ofcourse you must have the will to do the right thing.

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  • Sep 13, 2011 - 11:55PM

    Rain started again :) no doubt we dont expect this kinda rain in Karachi but is there any system to handle average rain ?

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  • Sooraj kay sath
    Sep 14, 2011 - 8:55AM

    I say if all poor immigrants from all parts of Pakistan had made their destination somewhere else Karachi would still be a city to match Singapore in beauty. That’s where it was going until 10 daily train loads of jobless Pakistanis began marching into it. Now Islamabad is an administration office not a city made by peoples of all walk of life for all styles of life. There is no comparison between (empty of human existence)Islamabad and World top ten Karachi, a city of 10% of Pak population bustling with life and its size can be seen from the moon. What are you talking about?

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  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:37PM

    @Sooraj kay sath:
    Absolutely right! there was a research done on Karachi and report was titled “The Colombia Report”. It mentioned that the root of problem in Karachi is Kaatchi Abadi. All kinds of crime exist there. If you take away Kutchi Abaadi… 90% crime will end in Karachi.
    I have seen how Singapore developed and all ingredients exist in Karachi if it is not dragged down by the huge federal burden we carry.

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  • Bilal
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:49PM

    Maybe its devine intervention from Allah to stop people from killing each other.

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  • Danish S
    Sep 14, 2011 - 8:53PM

    @Bilal:
    By taking killing in His own divine hands? Some explanation!

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  • xOYA
    Sep 15, 2011 - 11:20AM

    The ROADS that Mustafa kamal got made & done were all CLEAR of Water.
    The Places which did he not get the CHANCE of doing so U all witnessed the Tragic Scene.

    The Govt shuld get Mustafa kamal Back so that He may Complete the JOb & Karachi woud be beautiful Again.

    Last Nite Jasmeen question the Man who was responsible for Clearing & preparing before the Storm he did not know anything . infact he said i will prepare a report & let u know ????????
    Bring Mustafa kamal Back

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