Karachi has perpetually evolved ever since Sir Charles Napier first set foot on the once sleepy backwater in 1843 and discovered its potential. Around 170 years later, the growth shows no signs of stopping. From flyovers and exotic animals to the country’s tallest building – there will be lots of new additions to look forward to in 2013. There may be a lot of pessimism, but as architect Shahid Abdulla says, “We have already been battered and now it’s time to bounce back just like [Pakistan’s performance in] hockey and cricket!” Here is what some of prominent personalities had to say about what’s lined up for over 18 million people who call Karachi their home:
Director of the Karachi Zoological Gardens, Bashir Sadozai:
“This year we will import a pair of white tigers and bigger enclosures will be constructed for all the big cats. This year will also see a veterinary hospital within the zoo. We are also trying to ensure that animals breed and their offspring survive – a miniature horse is pregnant.”
Architect Shahid Abdulla:
“A lot of people will be interested in the completion of the remaining part of the Dolmen City Mall in Clifton. Around 60 per cent of it has been opened to the public. The Ocean Towers [near Do Talwar] will also stand out. It will have the finest movie theatre and the building is beautiful.”
Town planner Arif Hasan:
“It’s a myth that more flyovers can help improve traffic congestion. We need a mass transit system, which includes Karachi Circular Railway. But how long it will take for to actually start working is anyone’s guess. Our vision should be to make the roads pedestrian-friendly.”
DIG Traffic Police Khurram Gulzar
“People need to change their mindset. Please be patient. Everyone seems to be in a hurry. We have around 3,200 police constables deputed every day to manage traffic. Even then, it’s very difficult to convince people to follow traffic rules.
We must move bus and truck stands to the outskirts. The infrastructure cannot sustain them anymore. But the completion of the other track of the Lyari Expressway will help a lot in easing traffic woes.”
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s director-general of technical services, Altaf Memon:
“Five flyovers will be constructed this year. Four of them are being built on Shahrae Pakistan and one on Sharae Faisal near the Jinnah International Airport. We also plan to start work this month on two more overheard bridges at Shaheen Complex intersection and Golimar.
Another important project is the improvement of Banaras Chowk. The place underneath the Banaras Flyover is in shambles. We couldn’t construct the roads before because of multiple reasons.”
Director-general of parks and horticulture, Niaz Soomro:
“The renovated Hill Park will be ready by February. It will have a series of water fountains and a safer view point on the hill. [The previous spot] was closed for public after it was declared dangerous.
I am also sure people will love to visit Aziz Bhatti Park once we are done reconstructing the pond there. A wooden skating platform for children has also been planned. Hopefully, work on Clifton Aquarium will also start this year.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2013.