The world’s best mayor?

Published: June 12, 2010
The writer is an environmental lawyer and member of the faculty at LUMS and Punjab University.

The writer is an environmental lawyer and member of the faculty at LUMS and Punjab University.

Last week, I was invited to vote for Mustafa Kamal, former nazim of Karachi, as the best mayor in the world. As far as I know, Karachi is one of the world’s most complicated megalopolises. It is not just the city with the largest population in Pakistan; teeming with over 15 million people, it is one of the largest cities in the world. Anyone who can manage it definitely deserves to be called the best mayor in the world. But is the city of Karachi being run well? And if not, what it does say about people who are his fast and fervent supporters?

I have to admit a personal bias: I’m a great fan of Kamal. Unlike other urban managers in Pakistan he is dynamic, articulate, seems to have his head and heart in the right place, doesn’t shy from a good fight and, importantly, is a good listener. A few years ago he announced a plan to protect the city’s trees from being mercilessly felled, as they often are. A student of mine and I had previously done some legal research into the subject and so I emailed (CDGK is online and e-savvy) our findings to the nazim’s office. Within days I received an acknowledgment, along with tangible evidence (the minutes of a district nazim meeting) that our work had been considered by the nazim himself.

But does good PR make for the best mayor in the world? I’m afraid not.

Karachi is a city beset with problems. Despite being the economic powerhouse of the country over half its population lives in katchi abadis. There’s no proper public transport. Clean drinking water is scarce, and this does nothing for the city’s sewage and sanitation. These tip-of-the iceberg issues play into a long-standing and dangerous rivalry between competing political parties. Karachi has serious systemic as well as random acts of violence. There’s not a single person I know in Karachi who has either not been mugged or doesn’t know someone who has been mugged.

What then makes people think, and defend, Mustafa Kamal as one of the best mayors in the world? When I put this issue to some people, these gist of the replies I got was that Kamal was a tireless worker who, more than anyone else, had instilled a sense of civic pride in Karachi wallahs. But does it make him one of the best mayor’s in the world? Sadly not.

World Mayor is an independent and non-commercial project publication that seeks to honour those who have served their communities or have contributed to the well-being of cities. The World Mayor website informs that, “Above all, World Mayor wants to show the world what great mayors can achieve.”

World Mayor was the contest in which I was asked to vote for Mustafa Kamal. In 2005, Dora Bakoyannis, the mayor of Athens, was recognised for her contribution towards the success of the Athens Olympics. In 2004, Edi Rama, the mayor of Tirana, was given the prize for transforming the drab, post-communist capital of Albania into a thriving European city.

In three years Enrique Penalosa, mayor of Bogota from 1998 to 2001, built hundreds of kilometres of pedestrian and cycle lanes connecting the poor of his city to the libraries and public parks that he built. He also introduced a bus rapid transit system which is now a model for the rest of the world. As a result crime was reduced in one of the world’s cocaine capitals, levels of pollution dropped and quality of life improved.

These are just some of the things that people should be honoured with the title of world’s best mayor for. Having an affable politician who builds overpass after overpass for a minority urban elite does not even begin to measure up to what is done elsewhere. I have nothing but praise for the hard work of Mustafa Kamal but I worry about his ardent supporters. Somewhere in their love for their city, they have forgotten what urban development priorities should be. And when everyone loves the status quo, there’s simply no room for change, let alone improvement.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 12th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (63)

  • Aari
    Jun 12, 2010 - 1:01AM

    Mr. Kamal was the mayor of that city which was neglected in the past and he changed the shape of the city by his great efforts and team work. The other mayors of the world have worked on the already well developed metropolitan cities but Mustafa has changed the shape of that city which was not well developed.
    Furthermore, Karachi is regionally, ethnically and politically a different city than other mega cities of the world. To work in Karachi and face different mafias, was not an piece of cake for Mustafa.
    Salut to Mustafa.Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2010 - 1:02AM

    Well said!Recommend

  • Jaad Syed
    Jun 12, 2010 - 3:59AM

    according to world Karachi is the Largest Metropolitan city in the world. None of the Cities in the list have 15 Million people in main city.
    So technically speaking Karachi is most heavily populated City of the world.Recommend

  • Jaad Syed
    Jun 12, 2010 - 4:07AM

    Nice comments , but you have to see case by case,
    The responsibilities which were on City Nazim, Never Included Law and order, and transportation, so you cant blame him for these issues.
    keeping apart the fact that his team created and installed one of the worlds best Surveilance system in KArachi, it is then the failure of Law Enforcement Agencies, and the Ministry controlling it, not the seat of the nazim.
    Also in Transport sector, Both current and previous nazim introduced CNG busses. You can judge from the fact that after the CNG buss service comenced the minister for Transport Sind Govt said that CDG’s job is to work on “Nallas and bridges” and not transport, and this initiative will fail for sure. WIERD isnt it?!!

    Anyways, in my opinion world best mayors prize should not be for a mayor whose city is providing the best service, because that may not be due to current mayor, that maybe due to the system in that country.

    Best mayor prize should go to the person whose presence cause most change. Simple Recommend

  • Shabie
    Jun 12, 2010 - 4:11AM

    Very easy to criticize someone saying that building of underpasses and bridges was being done for an “urban elite”. Most of the workforce of karachi uses private or public transport, I hardly know anyone who walks to his work.

    Then as Aari said we are talking about a country full of mafias stronger than the law enforcing agencies, and to be able to do that was nothing short of an accomplishment.

    Moreover, he kept asking for power over the police force, but he never got. So there were many things that tied his hands when it came to development. Every person in karachi loves Mustafa Kamal, it be a poor “mazdoor” or a business man or even the house wives of the city.

    Be sad for the things he didn’t do but the city of karachi sure LOVES mustafa kamal and pray, hope and try to make him come back.Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2010 - 4:28AM

    Dear Ahmed Rafay Alam sb.

    I am a regular reader of your columns and works urban planning but I completely disagree with you even though you have your reservations on some valid points too.The contest asked from the voters about the success work of the mayor they voted for. I don’t think so there’s any specific criteria for choosing someone Best Mayor of the world by this neutral body. Here in the link is the Criteria of choosing best mayor, which says:

    The City Mayors editorial board will choose the winner and two runner-ups based on the number of votes received and the persuasiveness and passion of supporting comments. The organisers believe that the strength of argument is as important as the number of votes. This ensures that a ‘good’ mayor from a smaller city can compete on equal terms with a mayor from a large metropolis

    So according to this, Winner would be chose on the basis of persuasiveness and passion of supporting comments. Every city has different dynamics and every mayor work by keeping those dynamics in mind.

    For instance, If you say about law and order situation – So Police doesn’t come under the city district government in Pakistan. You can’t expect mayor to improve law and order situation in the city then.

    Similarly, the traffic problem in every mega city has different. London is so crowded and people normally chose to travel in tubes which too takes an an hour almost if you are travelling further 4-5 stations and you have to change the tubes too. Roads are busy and buses get stuck all the time too. But In Karachi, The Green buses are stood on the blocks right now because of lack of political will by the parties and the current administration of CDG. I don’t want to discuss the role of Transport mafia because it would be like I am justifying Mr. Kamal. Even though I am but the control of police and use that on Transport mafia could lead towards ethnic riots in Karachi. You call it complex rightly.

    These are the things which mayor faces all the time in Karachi.

    Coming back on my point, If there’s no specific criteria for choosing someone best mayor by that body but supporting comments of the voters then why people [Citizens of Karachi] shouldn’t consider the works which he had done in his 4 year times.

    Why shouldn’t I consider the bridges and underpasses which give me the opportunity to go to another end of Karachi in 1/4 of the time which I used to spend earlier on the same journey. It took more than hour to 1.5 hour to go to Airport from North Karachi. It was in 2007, When I went to Karachi and it took me 1 and half hour to reach at my home from the car in North Karachi ‘Up More’. At that time, everything was dig and I didn’t find anything new in Karachi apart from digs everywhere. I travelled back in 2009 May again and I was amazed to get into my home in the same car just in 20 minutes. Yes, just in twenty minutes. I got on signal in whole travelling from Airport to my ‘UP More’ house which was right after leaving the Airport when we entered in on Rashid Minhas road.

    Why shouldn’t I consider and thank Mayor Mustafa Kamal for solving the water problem in my and many towns of Karachi. Earlier, we had to get 1 tanker in a week or sometime 2 which cost us 300-400 per tanker. Around 6-8 tankers in a month for a family of 6-7 people, total cost (300-400 x 6-8) tankers.

    Why shouldn’t I thank and consider Mustafa Kamal for the best mayor when I see the park and cricket ground replacing a dump storage earlier and had bushes and every thing for last so many years.

    Why shouldn’t I consider Mustafa Kamal works for solving sewerage system in most of the areas in Karachi? We used to see water standing for weeks but it doesn’t stand more than a day and get into drainage as soon as the flow get quick. It’s not perfect or good but yet it is better than which Karachiites were seeing for last 60 years.

    I don’t want to go into the argument of what other mega cities most of the Pakistanis visited? 90% Pakistanis have not visited any other mega city of any other country which is in these final voting. So are those people of those cities living in those cities, they never visited Karachi perhaps. So morally and ethically, nobody should vote because they might not visited all the cities which are included in the final list. The organizers of the body are fools too to take the votes in this way too.

    I know, there were so many expectations from Mustafa Kamal but the work he had done, they were revolutionary work, Karachiites never had seen that sort of work in last 60 years and always complaining, Karachi didn’t get it deserve development and infrastructure before and whatever has been done in last 4 years. They couldn’t be possible without the efforts, handwork and passion of Mustafa Kamal’s city government and its team.

    The former mayor, Syed Mustafa Kamal has achieved the respect not only from all Karachiites but from all Pakistanis and he surely deserves to be known as world best mayor because he had done for the city and Pakistan which had never been done before in last 60 years. Because of him, there were so much investment in the city and Pakistan. I am sorry if this isn’t the achievement then what it is. Was it possible by some ordinary hard working labour. I don’t think so, being a Karachiite, I consider Mustafa Kamal not only my city hero but Pakistan’s hero and would like to see every admirer of him voting for him in this contest.


  • Tarik Hassan
    Jun 12, 2010 - 4:41AM

    Oh king of the naysayers, what in God’s name is your point? Ok. Mustafa Kamal is not the best mayor on earth. Then? I mean, did you actually have a point beyond that statement of the utter obvious?

    The fact is that he is a lot better than other mayors around the country, and most, if not all, of his predecessors. So when you are done with your Bogota-Albania-Mozambique-Tirana-Ulan Batar nonsense, perhaps you will also see the regional context within which this gentleman had to function and what he achieved within the confines of practicality and reality.

    How about you write an article – just for once in your life – that focuses on something good or positive. I mean, surely, even an environmental lawyer cum freedom fighter cum tree protector cum radio jockey such as yourself must have come across at least ONE positive thing in this land of ours. Hmm? Try it. You might like the after taste. I know for sure, I certainly will.Recommend

  • Assad Khan
    Jun 12, 2010 - 6:44AM

    @ari mustafa kamal belongs to the mqm. of course he doesnt face the same amount of challenges that any other mayor of karachi would. plus the burgeoning gap between the haves and the have nots of karachi makes his nomination even more baffling. building roads and bridges alone doesnt qualify you as a great mayor. the bridge that collapsed under his watch should have led to his immediate resignation. i will give him credit for some of his work but it is by no means extraordinary. Recommend

  • Ali Faruq
    Jun 12, 2010 - 8:08AM

    I am afraid Mr. Rafey will have to face alot of criticism from MQMers who can not digest the fact that no MK was not the best Mayor out there! Even if Mr. Rafey himself has said that he respects him for all the work he has done for Karachi.Recommend

  • KK
    Jun 12, 2010 - 8:08AM

    Assad Khan : Buddy that bridge (Shershah Bridge) that collapsed was not made under CDGK’s banner and was funded and constructed by the NHA and Ministry.
    Please get your facts right before commenting.
    yes Building bridges and roads isn’t the only issue. But at that time, it WAS a HUGE issue. and investment in infrastructure in many ways, saves many unforeseen and unaccounted for costs.Recommend

  • Kanwar Nabeel
    Jun 12, 2010 - 9:13AM

    @ Asad Khan
    That bridge wasnt build under his watch , it was created by NHA

    That is the problem of Karachi , it is run by 13 differnt bodies , and even then he changed everything in karachi which wasnt even touched in previous 60 years . U guys talk abt only bridges and road bcoz they r visible , wht abt those water lines , sanitary system and most of all number of plants which were installed at all the green belts of karachi .

    I think the author should wake up and see everything with open eyes .Recommend

  • iqtisadiyat
    Jun 12, 2010 - 1:06PM
  • Waj
    Jun 12, 2010 - 1:39PM

    Agreement is in order, ARA, but the elephant in the Karachi room is ethno-centric and class-based fissures. Compounded by various divides (the infamous “Bridge Divide” that haunts us more than most of the others), this city has been fractured by Mr. Kamal’s party (if not himself) along sub-nationalist and ethnicity-driven lines. Lets face it; Karachi is probably the only city in the country where you can find yourself in ‘trouble’ if you don’t order your coffee in English (in one area), and can end up in another pickle if you don’t order your bread in in Pashto (in another ‘enclave’). Yes, KHI the true cosmopolis of our Republic, but it is also right up there with a place like Quetta when it comes to communal tensions. Considering MK’s party has rebranded itself to reflect a more “United” and a less “United Provinces” way of thought, coupled with what is essentially a polite stranglehold of the city, little has been done to bust the ghosts of provincialism that haunt us. Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2010 - 1:52PM

    Let me tell you why Karachites wanted you to vote for Kamal as Best Mayor. I agree Karachi is one the most complexed metros of the world, the unorganized transportation system backed by particular ethnicity and political party, encroachments and Kachi Abadi formed by the inhabitants come from interior Sindh and Khyberpakhtoonkhwa, political rivalries, sanitations problems and often arising law and order issues which cannot be handled by the Punjabi Police/ Rangers until they know the flavor of city by involving local recruits into the department, such problems often turn into ethnic clashes and further add complexity into the portfolio of of the already sensitive Karachi city. If you notice no metro of the world confronts such kind of multifacet problems simultaneously.

    Its the city where the police force cannot raid because of the fear of erupting ethnic clashes.

    Mustufa Kamal after taking charge of such a messed up city tried to address issues of the Karachites without any discrimination, the overhead bridges, roads, water and sanitation issues were resolved for every Karachite rather than particular area. The hospitals and equipments he set up are now serving all ethnicities living in this city and so are the buses. In short a common citizen of Karachi’s life has become better than the pre CDGK life.

    On the world’s best mayor site you will find majority of mayors from “developed cities” who have the bestest infrastructures and governance in the world, they don’t have the PPP Government who create hurdle in City Government when it comes to releasing funds, neither they have territorial issues which comes under Cantt, Water Board, Railways and so many other authorities that limit Mayors powers.

    So in SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES Kamals efforts must be appreciated because things around him are not as ideal as other developed country mayors enjoy.Recommend

  • Farah
    Jun 12, 2010 - 2:14PM

    Excellent piece. Is Mustafa Kamal the best mayor in the world? No. There are still some questionable gaps in his record (mostly caused by his association with the MQM and their violent anti-Pashtun agenda coupled). But does he deserve credit for being good enough to be considered in the first place? Absolutely. The fact that we are having this debate is a huge achievement for the man.

    Plus anyone who can yell “ulloo keh pathay!” on national television gets my vote!Recommend

  • Kashif Khan
    Jun 12, 2010 - 4:53PM

    Lets not forget many of the projects Kamal takes credit for were initiated and nurtured by his predecessor Khan. Recommend

  • sulman
    Jun 12, 2010 - 8:06PM

    He is better than the nazim of Lahore whose only passion was his private group of colleges.Recommend

  • zaigham
    Jun 12, 2010 - 10:34PM

    “overpass for minority urban elite?”
    are you high with some kind of a drug?

    karachi is a large city and im sure
    the writer is largely unaware of how
    this port city works… we use public
    transport frequently and these over-
    passes are a blessing for us… i rem-
    member going to my saddar aroun 9:00 am…
    it used to take us an hour normally and
    almost 2 hours at rush hour… now it
    takes not more than 45 minutes…

    are you aware of that a lot medical centers
    were created/upgraded by the city government?
    im aware of a 50(?) bed cardic facility
    close to my house in shah faisal colony.
    are you aware of the parks that were developed?

    he tried developing the public transport…
    but it still leaves a lot to be desired…
    but until the power of the transport mafia
    is not broken there cant be any progress
    in this regard… im aware of the mental
    torture and intimidation tactics usd by the
    jahil mini-bus driver to kill potential
    competitor be it the CNG busses of 2009
    or metro buses of 2000…Recommend

  • Jun 13, 2010 - 1:16AM

    I’m a Lahori who’s lived in Karachi for seven years and with due respect to my fellow citizens, I don’t think that Lahoris are qualified to comment articulately on Karachi and its issues. Karachi is an extremely complicated city and its external analysis is more often than not merely an over-simplified excursion. I think this article was amateurish and displayed an absolute lack of understanding of Karachi and the achievements that Mustafa Kamal made as Mayor. Sadly, most of our pseudo intellectual writers point out efforts that are made to serve the urban elite; however seldom do they themselves move out of the urban elite areas. If one needs to see true progress that Karachi made, get out of Clifton and Defence and go past Karsaz and all the way till New Karachi. There are 13 agencies that run Karachi with a look busy do nothing approach and have always created hurdles for Mustafa Kamal. The detractors of Mustafa Kamal are actually critics of Musharraf, who conveneiently forget and it was Mush’s personal initiative and interest that made most of this progress possible. For Lahore, the greatest example is the majestic Expo Centre: just go and ask their management the difference that Mush made to achieve what they have. We are a sad nation that abuses people who bring economic progress to us and worship those who nationalize booming industries. Please analyse deeper Mr Alam: your fondness for bookish definitions of democracy is not enough to eclipse facts. Recommend

  • Jun 13, 2010 - 10:20AM

    The writer is an environmental lawyer and member of the faculty at LUMS and Punjab University.

    A Karachi wala might give better experience and comparison of mayor tenure with his predecessor than any Lahore or other province writer, balanced post though, but writer is failed in highlighting the achievements of Mayor achieved in short tenure.Recommend

  • Kanwar Nabeel
    Jun 13, 2010 - 12:21PM

    with all the points given above by people , it is crystal clear that this article is written by writer without any research and by being biased .
    I demand writer should come up and say sorry for hurting karachites and for insulting Syed Mustafa Kamal .Recommend

  • Muhammed Zafir Zia
    Jun 13, 2010 - 12:27PM

    Assalamoalikum all,

    I do agree with most of the comments but what I would like to add on is that Mr Naimatullah Khan the Jamaat Islami backed city nazim from 2001-2005 was the person who actually set an example by transforming Karachi in to the city of lights.No one from the print or electronic media have projected or recognized Mr Khan’s and Jamaat Islami’s work and furthermore Naimat Sahab was also a contender of in the best mayor of the world award in 2005.

    Mustafa Kamal and MQM was compelled to work as the previous CDGK under Naimatullah Khan had changed the fortune of Karachi in a limited period of time despite the then MQM local bodies minister Waseem Akhter created many hurdles in the way of Mr Khan….

    Mustafa Kamal had an advantage that MQM was in power in the province as well as the centre and also the backing of Altaf Hussain which helped.

    All credit to Mr Mustaf Kamal who carried the projects originally conceived by Naimtullah Khan.

    Despite all this MQM has to stop its armed militia from killing innocent Karachiites…….


  • Aariz Memon
    Jun 13, 2010 - 5:52PM

    @Assad Khan. The collapsed bridge was constructed by NHA, the federal govt.Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jun 13, 2010 - 6:34PM

    During his tenure, Mr. Mustufa Kamal has finished some remarkable task.

    I think that in the next elections of CDGK whenever the elections will be held, most of the people are going to give vote for Mr. Mustufa Kamal to bring him back so that leftover work should be finished without wasting any time.

    If control of KESC is given under CDGK and Mustufa Kamal being in the chair, I do not think that there will be any more load-shedding in Karachi.

    Mr. Mustufa Kamal knows how to turn the wheel. Let him drive the car.

    On Saturday night before the cyclone Phet hit Badin and other coastal areas of the province, there was thunderstorm in Karachi.

    But I could not see rain water flowing on the road on Monday morning.

    Thank you Mr. Mustufa Kamal, for saving us from the hassle.Recommend

  • Kanwar Nabeel
    Jun 13, 2010 - 7:04PM

    for ur kind info every big city of the world has master plan , but karachi had no master plan even when naimatullah was mayor , Mustafa kamal was the first person who gave karachi a master plan and after that all the construction and work was done , so those who says naimatullah initiated those projects are wrong bcoz these constructions started after the approval of master plan .
    Similarly the surveillance camera system , 24 hour helpline ,well equipped ambulances and many more .
    All these things were done after master plan .
    Thats so biased , wht if he belongs to MQM , atleast u guys should look at works he has done and appreciate him . Recommend

  • Shehryar Ahmad
    Jun 13, 2010 - 7:56PM

    All Karachi-ites (and actually all Pakistanis) should vote for Kamal. Lets be united for a change!Recommend

  • shahnasin ur Rahman
    Jun 14, 2010 - 12:02AM

    mustafa kamal was the best mayor in the history of pakistan, I pr4ay to Allah to return him again for karachi city nazim.

    Shah nasinur rahman
    Asst resident engineer in Tebodin ,AbudhabiRecommend

  • Sajida
    Jun 14, 2010 - 1:10AM

    What is significant to me about Karachi is that it is the rare example of a mayor operating in a decentralized system. How many mayors in list were operating in such a system? Even further this is a decentralized system in a developing country;an even rarer example.
    Both mayors under the new structure made it to short list. They are from completely opposite political spectrums. That says a lot for the system and for the individuals.

    The author is based in Lahore, which has not demonstrated this capacity in its leaders. This might be because they never understood the system and have been unable to do what 2 mayors of Karachi did. What has been needed is greater capacity building so that all cities flourished under this system. Even Hyderabad the 2d largest city in Sindh and run by MQM failed to improve. It seems to me both Karachi mayors had the capacity to figure out how to work with the system;and the reps in Hyderabad did not.

    Further, as noted by other comments, there are some sectors that are not under the control of the mayor, which the author does not seem to realize. This UK special authority mechanism plagues modern governance in India, US and UK as well.
    Please see:

  • Sajida
    Jun 14, 2010 - 1:57AM

    I correct myself. Hyderabad does not have decentralized system like Karachi.Recommend

  • Muhammad Abbas
    Jun 14, 2010 - 2:43AM

    As slamo alaikum

    Rafay Sahib,

    Accept my gratitudes for acknowledging the efforts of Mustafa Kamal Bhai vis-a-vis Karachi but let me take your attention towards another and a crucial aspect i.e. Leadership, which matters a lot, we have our islamic & other history available which points on to some marvolous victories and the most important is that of Nawasa-e-Rasool (PBUH) Hazrat Imam Hussain (a.s) it was his leadership that gave the courage to his companions to fight till death for the good and not to bow before anyone except Allah (Subhana-ho-wa-Ta`ala), similary it is the leadership of Altaf Hussain Bhai who has the ability to create as many Mustafa Kamal as are required but the only thing lacks is oppurtunity, In Karachi we got chance and transformed it almost completely, likewise as soon as we get chance elsewhere in Pakistan, the world will see who the Haq Parasts are, Inshaallah.

    In the end peace be upon Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.) and his descendants.


    Jun 14, 2010 - 9:06AM

    i have read alot of comments before starting my comment .i am not convinced which writer said in this article.He could not research from clear eyes.

    I think the vision which mustafa Kamal gave to this city was phenomenal.He taught Karachites how to own the city and previous nazim’s could’nt do it. **those people who say that Kamal completed the task was actually conceived by Naimatullah Khan** . i dont agree with them completely even wise people as well. Naimatullah did’nt do more work for long term. Nagan Chowrangi was a round about till the start of 2003 and everyone was thinking that fly over on this road is inevitable for long term but Naimatullah made siganls which made more complicated and time consuming. If he did’nt have enough fund he not supposed to make signals. Now 3 years ago Mustafa Kamal build flyovers and it will be beneficial till many decades.and there are plenty of examples besides this. Many govt. Hospitals which lie under city govt. Jurisdiction was completety changed in MK’s tenure and which were ignored in previous tenure. To make the parks were not the priority of Karachities and drainage system was not up to the level in Naimatullah’s tenure. Now 3 Corriders completed in such a short span of time and many more projects.
    The response of 1339 service was very impressive…Recommend

  • Jun 14, 2010 - 9:28AM

    As many others said earlier, IF you want to tell what Mustufa Kamal did and IF he deserves to be the World’s Best Mayor or not Ask anyone from Karachi. From Clifton, Defence to North Karachi, SITE, everyone accepts the great work he has done for the city.

    I would appreciate SuperTramp for pointing out the fact people who are living in the city can comment better rather than people who are living outside.

    Thats all :)Recommend

  • Muhammad Niaz
    Jun 14, 2010 - 10:24AM

    Mustafa Kamal:
    Its all possible because of Altaf Bhai, I was just a telephone opreator but Altaf bhai give the oppurnity; i am very grateful to altaf bhai, you know altaf bhai is very good person, Altaf bhai loves pakistan & karachi..Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jun 14, 2010 - 11:44AM

    The problem with the people is this that he belongs to MQM and that is the biggest problem for many people’s bias.

    Believe me if someone even build golden roads in the country and gets rid of Karachi of all the problems but he belongs to MQM then he would certainly be bad…………………

    Bravo…………….. all hail to biasness in Pakistan……………..Recommend

  • Umar Hashmi
    Jun 14, 2010 - 4:40PM

    The World’s Best Mayor contest should not be merely a voting thing. It should and I believe it must have some key performance indictors to evaluate competing mayors on. It is rather too simplistic to vote for the best mayor and select some one just on that basis.

    Every city has its own share of problems and short comings. Applying someone else’s ideas to rate another one is not the correct way to look at things.

    It seems the writer has only seen the roads and flyovers in Karachi and is oblivious to the fact that a huge amount of work done is burried under the grounds in the form of sewage and water carrying systems. Also, so many parks have been made in many localities across Karachi. All of this has benefitted citizens of Karachi irrescpective of their social status, cast and creed.

    Open up your mind and look at things positively rather than being critical to everything!!!

    Be Happy.Recommend

  • Stranger
    Jun 14, 2010 - 5:06PM

    @“Above all, World Mayor wants to show the world what great mayors can achieve.”

    The biggest achievement of Mustafa Kamal is the free corridor system.Recommend

  • Stranger
    Jun 14, 2010 - 5:08PM

    The problem with the people is this that he belongs to MQM and that is the biggest problem for many people’s bias.[2]Recommend

  • Farigh
    Jun 14, 2010 - 8:37PM

    Unfortunately, he didn’t make any contribution to mass transport. Those who thinks that he contributed a lot to Karachi have never lived in a city before. Even Delhi and Mumbai have the transportation system in place, they are no less populous than Karachi. Recommend

  • Muhamamed Ali Mustafa
    Jun 14, 2010 - 9:59PM

    correct your self

    Karachi have population of 18 million and Mustafa Kamal have done some ground breaking work in karachi which no one have done ever in the history of Pakistan since its existence. His work for community development and infrastructure specially drinking water supply to islands of Karachi and Lyari town was some thing un-imaginable and i am sure no one ever have think about such wonders before Mustafa Kamal.Recommend

  • Kanwar Nabeel
    Jun 15, 2010 - 2:51AM

    @Farigh :D
    thats wht he kept on crying for 4 years , give him the authority , mass transport was not his domain , but even then he contacted chinese firms and agreed them to start mass transit system in karachi , but as usual Pakistan Railway didnt gave him NOC and then the company backed off. Recommend

  • Snorden
    Jun 15, 2010 - 8:40AM

    In Taaza khuadaown mayn sabb say barra watan hay – Jo iss ka payrahan hay woh mazhab ka kaffan hay. So engrossed are we with our political affiliations, our linguistic biases, our regional/ethnic prejudices and our vested interests that neither can we accept a single word of positive criticism nor can we acknowledge praise if there is an iota of doubt that there is a reference to areas of improvement. Nation, cast, ethnicity and “greater then religion” political affiliations have jaundiced our eyes so much that we can not think properly. Be it Karachites or non Karachites. The funniest and most dangerous part is that we are even picking on the point that the writer is from Lahore. Shame on us as Pakistanis and shame on us as Muslims. Moreover the God Like “Altaf Bhai” has been elevated to the level where we might even be committing “kufr” every single day.
    I dont know the writer nor do have any inclination of defending him but the gentleman has tried to call a spade a spade. But unfortunately we are not used to that especially if the spade lies on our side of the road. God Bless us all (especially the ones with politically/ethnically jandiced eyes)Recommend

    Jun 15, 2010 - 8:51AM

    Dear Farigh, you need to open your both eyes; right from begining Mustafa Kamal was shouting for mass transit system he need a huge fund for that project. besides this he did phenomenal work for transport as well…corrider system is one of them..Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2010 - 12:02PM

    Terrific job in ignoring all of Mustafa Kamal’s achievements. His development work, the projects that he’s had built etc

    Then again, how would you know. You don’t even live in Karachi.

    Can you even name your OWN mayor?Recommend

  • Sajid Saeed
    Jun 15, 2010 - 1:19PM

    Dear Mr. Rafay, so what you actually wanted from Mr. Mustafa Kamal so as to be recognized among best Mayors? To prioritize organizing Olympics in Karachi without improvement of infrastructure of the city (Your reference to Mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyannis) or to prioritize building hundreds of kilometers of pedestrian and cycle lanes before updating and developing the existing deplorable road network of traffic that was without any sewage system beneath? (Your reference to Mayor of Bogota, Enrique Penalosa)……Don’t you think that somewhere in your own biasness, you have forgotten what urban development priorities should be.Recommend

  • Stranger
    Jun 15, 2010 - 1:54PM

    Yes we are prejudice because of you people.Recommend

  • Aamir Qureshi
    Jun 15, 2010 - 2:45PM

    Totally rubbish stuff from a learned writer..

    I dare to say this rubbish just because he has criticized the CDGK for areas which are not governed under CDGK but the provincial government. For instance, Mustafa kamal, during his administration, kept on appealing to the authorities regarding unity of command in all areas of Karachi and giving law enforcement agencies and traffic police under the control of CDGK. But, after his 4 wonderful years of karachi, the writer is criticising him on these counts which is unacceptable given the kind of profile of the writer.

    In my view, with all the available resources, Kamal did his best and could have done better if he was fully supported by the provincial governement and could have been more successful in the areas of waste management, water filteration and salination and circular railway system.Recommend

  • Munazza Sami
    Jun 15, 2010 - 3:06PM

    Mustafa Kamal is the best and that’s it….people can criticize only……….Recommend

  • Kanwar Nabeel
    Jun 15, 2010 - 4:41PM

    i have a simple suggestion , y not etribune make a opinion poll and ask people whether he is worlds best mayor or not ……..if the result comes YES then the writer should come up and say sorry ………if result comes NO then we all supporting Mustafa Kamal would salute the writer ……..Recommend

  • madiha.shah
    Jun 15, 2010 - 4:43PM

    Thank you for your suggestion. You’l see it soon.
    (Web team)Recommend

  • aariz memon
    Jun 15, 2010 - 7:44PM

    Karachi- a city of more than 15 stake holders such military cantonments, Pak Navy bases, Pak air bases, Federal and provincial areas and the most important MINI PAKISTAN.
    The writer lacks correct facts and figure and the ruling system in the city. No doubt, Mr. Kamal did his great job during his tenure where there are more than 15 bosses of they city. Recommend

  • nabeel bari
    Jun 16, 2010 - 12:03AM

    Dear All,

    Let’s look at this; someone said it right that Pakistan does not need enemies as we are our own enemies. The only good news emerging from Pakistan was the fact that despite having all the difficulties and problems in Karachi Mayor kamal was still able to deliver and is shortlisted in the World Best Mayor. Rather than feel proud and praise him we have started to compare him with other cities that don’t even have half the problems that Karachi has, Karachi is controlled by 13 agencies which are not under the Mayor yet their follies fall under the Mayor. The police are not under the Mayor and neither are any other law enforcement agencies. Funds have been cut off and if we remember Mayor Kamal despite having all the issues was still able to deliver projects in the fastest possible time. The only person from Pakistan, who was selected from public services to receive Young Global Leader by the World Economic forum, gave speeches in Harvard, Columbia, and Rice Universities in USA. The first politician to stand in US and say that I will not talk about my problems with other political parties while I am overseas as on this platform we are all one and we all represent Pakistan. The first politician that told the US that the only thing the Pakistani’s know of the US is their drone attacks. Told them bluntly that don’t give us Aid rather give us equal free access to markets. Has always stood tall and has the courage to tell the media “ullah ke patha”.
    We will never find someone like him, his challenges are very different and I believe the World Mayor forum needs to closely identify his constraints and still deliver so large. No other city mayors in the list had the same constraints like Mayor Kamal and yet he delivered better than anyone on the list. He was asked to compete in a boxing match with one hand tied behind his back yet he out punched all his opponents. His passion and belief that despite all odds if your conviction is there then you can deliver and he did so magnificentlyRecommend

  • Snorden
    Jun 16, 2010 - 11:58AM

    @Stranger – God Bless you. By the way when you say “Yes we are prejudice because of you people” what do you mean by you people? Do you even have “them” and “us” for people from Karachi? I love the expression “Yes we are prejudice because of you people” because I amm one of the same sort and nationality and this proves the finger [pointing has no end. God Bless you, God Bless all Pakistanis and all Karachites (as I believe we are special is we are Karachites).Recommend

  • MallRoadIcedTea
    Jun 16, 2010 - 5:08PM

    Karachi has just been ranked on the top ten least liveable cities in the world (

  • Javed
    Jun 16, 2010 - 10:25PM

    I just wanna what does a person from Lahore university or Punjab university knows about Karachi and Mustafa Kamal?? This is my simple question to you.Recommend

    Jun 17, 2010 - 1:32AM

    Mustafa Kamal is the best
    GA ALTAF BHAIRecommend

  • Danny
    Jun 17, 2010 - 4:46PM

    Pakistan is surrounded by corrupt political system, survival for MK’s existence was only a dream, what I know that deadline for the Baloch colony – Qayyum abad flyer was 15th June and I don’t think it would be completed on 15th June 2050! ‘cuase they don’t care, see Administrator Karachi, drunken, lazy, coming one day in office at 8 am and asking why’s every one not in yet!!! Go and visit Hasan square City Admin’s office! you will find out yourself. It is easy saying from room but the picture is contrary to what what it appears.

    Those who hate MQM would never like and always hate MK for whatever he does, it doesn’t matter to them if he brings water to villages near shore thru under seas pipeline, it doesn’t matter he builds roads in the islands of Karachi, they hate him and they would hate him forever, an example is above — a jamate islami fan taking credits away and putting blames of killing in karachi on MQM. One can only say ” WHAT THE HELL IS THIS”. Don’t they see the development work done in areas where MQM doesn’t have support but still they did!! Nothing can change Pakistan and it’s people — they love people of loot them, take everything away from them. People of Pakistan can never change. I LOVE KARACHI, I LOVE MK, I LOVE MQM.Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2010 - 6:48PM

    Why my comments not appeared so far?Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2010 - 9:51PM

    No amount of construction and transport system can make Karachi a better place to live, unless Karachites learn to be civilized, polite, and show great sense of citizenship in their attitude. Mustafa Kamal can do so much but it can polish the city on the outerside. A city’s quality of life is represented more from its people rather than from its underpasses and flyovers.Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2010 - 9:54PM

    btw, why the write should say sorry, if mustafa kamal wins over the favors in the local poll (not everyone in karachi has access to internet or raed tribune online, anyways). All writers have a right to criticize and keep their opinion without being appologetic. Its not a hate speech, its a matter of opinion.Recommend

  • syed adeel zaman
    Jun 18, 2010 - 3:26AM

    i would like to share my point of view here
    i m 21 years old now so basically in next election i would be able to vote first INSHAHA ALLLAH, before that i was not able to vote and actually frankly speaking i didn,t want to vote for any one but now i wanna vote in next election becaeuse in my whole life i have seen the 1st person who worked for my city n for my country as well so INSHHA ALLAH in next elction i would definetly vote for MQM
    because MQM is the only party who works for the peopleRecommend

    Jun 18, 2010 - 9:03AM

    OPinion should be authentic rather that baseless criticism . Yes not everyone in Karachi do have access and those who have may not know about this poll..otherwise the numbers in front of YES will be much more. Recommend

  • Jun 30, 2010 - 2:19AM

    I was’nt surprised by what he wrote, but I was surprised by writer’s lack of knowledge, surely you need to know about the issue to deserve a column in a publication. Mustafa Kamal unfortunately did infrastructure development like laying sewage lines, improving water supplies, building road infrastructure to reduce to the amount of time travel which writer decided to ignore which other cities have built years back. Law and Order is not the responsibility of City govt. writer surely would have this basic knowledge instead of being tutored by people commenting on his article, law and order is under provincial govt. there is real estate occupied by the armed forces in the shape of military peoples’ houses where city govt. or nazim can’t enter without the consent of their authorities but city govt. used to pick up garbage and allow their waste to be dumped on city govt. property although its their authorities responsibility.
    One is witnessing the Peoples party transport mafia tie-up to destroy few CNG buses started by MK, although for years Karachi city govt. has been waiting for sovereign guarantees by the federal govt.[needed by the institutions like ADB to start project]to no avail. It feels like the writer is angry with Khadim Aala who suspended part of ring road poject to tighten belts as their throwing money to different schemes restricted to cities of ‘urban elite’ on GT road instead of solving the problem that is controlling food inflation they have piled up enormous debt on the Punjab province. Recommend

  • Omamah Alvi
    Jul 13, 2010 - 5:15PM

    The reason the aforementioned cities which produced the best mayors in the world, thrived is because they had backing of the Federal Governments of their respective countries. Unfortunately, Mustafa kamal had no such backing. He worked with what he had and what he could do in limited time and resources in a country whose government is infested with red tape and corruption. This is the problem with Pakistani’s. Instead of appreciating what a lone man has done to make a city – HIS city- a better place to live in, we criticise him and so discourage him and any other person wanting to be like him. Whether you agree or not, Mustafa Kamal did wonders for Karachi which no other mayor accomplished. He deserves our appreciation and not criticism. Recommend

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