Water shortage prompts Karachi's residents to take to the streets

JI holds demonstration outside KWSB office

Our Correspondents June 01, 2018
Water shortage in Karachi sparks protests. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: From Korangi till Orangi Town--two areas flung in two different corners of the city--the entire city of Karachi is deprived of water.

Muhammad Mustafa, a resident of Korangi, said this to the charged up crowd at a sit-in organised on Thursday by Jamaat-e-Islami in front of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) office to protest against the water shortage in the city.

"Where does the water of the city go?" asked Mustafa. "Water tankers are available round the clock. From where do these water tankers get water?" He accused the Sindh government of minting money through the water shortage.

A protester from Orangi Town claimed that in Orangi Town's Sector 16, people only get water once in a while. "It has been two-and-a-half months and our taps are still dry," he said.

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The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have sold the water of this city to real estate developers, he claimed. "They have literally done that," he asserted.

The protesters were holding placards with slogans of 'Karachi ko paani do [Give Karachi water]', 'Water theft is not acceptable' and 'Incompetent water board is not acceptable'.

The residents of Karachi have been facing a water and power crisis for a long time. However, their miseries have been exacerbated during Ramazan because of the scorching heat. Not only are areas such as Orangi Town, New Karachi, North Karachi, Lyari, Shah Faisal Colony, North Nazimabad, Baldia Town, Keamari and Agra Taj Colony not receiving enough water, posh areas under the administrative controld of the Cantonment Board Clifton and Defence Housing Authority are also affected by water shortage.

Addressing the protesters, JI Karachi Amir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said despite the intense heat and Ramazan, the people of Karachi came out to protest against the KWSB and Sindh government. "People of Karachi want their right to water," he said, adding that the government was unwilling to provide water to the people of Karachi even during Ramazan and the heatwave.

Protests against load-shedding continue

Rehman accused both the MQM and PPP of being responsible for the miseries of the residents of Karachi. The K-IV project, which was supposed to start in 2006, was initiated in 2016 and is still at a standstill, he said.

The JI Karachi Amir also accused Pak Sarzameen Party Chairperson Mustafa Kamal of deliberately delaying the K-IV project when he was the mayor of the city and a part of the MQM. Being directly responsible for the water crisis in the city, MQM representatives better not talk about Karachi's water woes, he said.

Meanwhile, the KWSB issued a statement in which it said that the water board was trying its best to ensure regular water supply to the city.

Other protests

Residents of North Karachi and Landhi also resorted to protests on Thursday on the water shortage and blocked thoroughfares near Do Minute Chowrangi and Babar Market respectively.

The demonstrations staged at both locations disrupted traffic flow, resulting in severe traffic jams on the surrounding roads. The protesters said while they were already suffering loadshedding by K-Electric (K-E), the KWSB's inability to supply water added to their miseries.

Unabated load-shedding drives JI onto the streets of Karachi

The demonstrators claimed that water was not being provided to their areas for the last couple of days.

Residents of Baldia Town also staged a sit-in on the Northern Bypass against prolonged load-shedding in their area. They chanted slogans and blocked the road for traffic.

The angry protesters claimed that due to severe power cuts, they were unable to obtain water. They decried that they were eating sehri and iftar without power on a daily basis. They appealed to the federal government to take notice of K-E's apathy to their woes.

Unannounced load-shedding of up to 10 hours a day was taking place in Baldia Town, the protesters said. They also claimed that there were no kundas in Baldia Town No 4 and all residents paid their electricity bills on time.

Upon receiving the complaints of a severe traffic jam, police authorities reached the Northern Bypass and conveyed assurances from K-E to the protesters that their issue will be resolved, upon which the protesters ended their demonstration.


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