Recently, a campaign was launched in Karachi, under the title of ‘Fix It’ that took social media by storm. It was initiated by an individual named Alamgir Khan, who is a student at Iqra University and the idea behind his campaign was to initially shed light on all the uncovered manholes in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, which had not been fixed by the provincial government. Soon enough #fixit took up other social issues as well. His concept of protesting is very different and peaceful — that is what has stood out. He spray-painted Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah’s pictures next to uncovered manholes and garbage around various streets in Karachi, along with the phrase “fix it”. This campaign shows that our youth cares about the province; it also shows how the provincial government clearly doesn’t care enough. It shows that if society has the will, it can create some much-needed awareness about various issues.
This was a perfect example of how ordinary citizens can take things into their own hands and try to build a better future. We don’t need to sit and wait for others to do things for our country. Uncovered manholes are not only sore to the eyes, they also endanger pedestrians, especially at night. Many people are known to have suffered serious injuries by falling into these manholes, something that the authorities refuse to take note of.
Apparently, after Alamgir Khan started marking the manholes around University Road in Karachi, his father received a call from a police station stating that his son’s car was involved in a hit and run — a sort of a threat for him to stop what he is doing. Instead of reforming themselves, the authorities’ response is highly disappointing, although perhaps not surprising.
Such social campaigns are desperately needed in all parts of the country so that our rulers feel pressured when they fail in their duties. Alamgir Khan, with the help of other concerned citizens, ended up fixing tens of manholes on University Road — a job that should have been done by those in authority.
Due to the popularity of this campaign, a mobile phone application has now been launched that enables the user to take a picture of an uncovered manhole or any other problem they think needs the attention of authorities and register their complaint, along with the picture. This can help shed light on all kinds of civic issues that persist in our country.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2016.
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