KARACHI: Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information, Law and Anti-Corruption Barrister Murtaza Wahab has emphasised the importance of general public’s participation on all levels for better governance. He was speaking at a conference, titled ‘Engaging Communities for Peace in Karachi,’organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education on Saturday. He said that the government and the general public working together would benefit both, the state and the people.
He claimed that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) set the precedent of ensuring the participation of civil society in legislation. The PPP, with the help of public, was able to introduce police reforms and make police an independent institution, he said.
Wahab assured that the PPP would take initiatives to legislate for the benefit of the people and to make the society a better place.
Other speakers attending the conference also acknowledged that extremism and violence posed a big threat to the city and agreed that while there was relative peace in the metropolis for the past few years, increasing extremism, ethnic division and civic problems could endanger it. The speakers also highlighted the importance of engaging local communities to counter violence and extremism and adopt grassroots approach.
Senior architect and town planner Arif Hasan said that there was lack of a political will among the state institutions in Karachi to solve civic problems.
“Communities in Karachi have no role in politics and social aspects of the development, however, some ethnic forces have played a role in its development in the past,” he remarked. He added that there was no shortage of funds for development, but, there is lack of effective implementation of laws by the state institutions.
Hasan pointed out that some informal vested interests have played a key role in provision of civic facilities like transport, housing, but they had also exploited the masses. Because of lack of planning, these informal forces have entered into infrastructure development, by creating Katchi Abadis to solve the housing problem, construction of bus stops for inter-city and intra-city transport, truck stands for movement of cargo and illegal hydrants for supplying water.
“Our state institutions have miserably failed to provide all these facilities to the public,” he remarked.
Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani, former head of Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, Jameel Yusuf, Sindh Commission on Status of Women Chairperson Nuzhat Shireen, MPA Sidra Imran, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology Social Sciences Faculty Dean Dr Riaz Ahmed Shaikh and senior labour leader Habibuddin Junaidi, among others also spoke at the conference.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2019.