Karachi has long been plagued by municipal and infrastructural problems due to political instability and corruption by the provincial and local parties. Despite being the largest city in terms of population and GDP (nominal) contributing 25% to the national GDP and a city that generates 65 percent of the national tax revenue, the city is in despair and in need of a massive uplift. The recent monsoon rains were an eye-opener to the dismal state of the city which left at least 47 dead and many more homeless. So in September 2020, the ruling provincial party PPP and ruling national party PTI pledged to collaborate to rid Karachi of its perennial problems. Thus, Rs1.1 Trillion Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP) was set up and would be implemented under a Provincial Coordination Implementation Committee to be led by the Sindh Chief Minister. This plan would target major municipal and infrastructural issues that have haunted the city for decades.
Out of this massive trillion-rupee package, Rs92 Billion will go towards water supply, Rs267 Billion to solid waste management, stormwater drains clearance and resettlement project, Rs141 Billion to sewage water treatment, Rs41 Billion to road restorations and repairs, and Rs572 Billion for mass transit, rail, and road transport projects. These projects will include finalization of the K-4 project which will supply bulks of water to a thirsty Karachi and eliminate the Rs22 Billion water tanker mafia industry leeching off necessities of the common people and make up for the short supply of 550 million gallons per day of water the city is facing, eradicating illegal construction and encroachments along stormwater drains or nullahs and building educational and health centers in their stead and constructing 6,000 apartments for low-income families or families living in dismal conditions. Alongside this the Karachi Circular Railway which was out of commission for more than 20 years due to mismanagement and provincial and municipal political backfiring, completing the metro bus service, and carrying out maintenance of roads, and modernizing the city’s infrastructure. 200 buses of Green Line Project are expected to be on the roads of the city by July-September to provide the facility of public transport to the people of Karachi.
All of this is all good said and done on paper and words but how will a financially restricted Federal government and an even worse off Sindh government hope to pay for all this? Well, it’s no surprise that the funding for this plan will come from different venues, while the Federal government is expected to dish out the majority at around Rs347 Billion (31.2%), while the Sindh government is expected to contribute Rs285 Billion (25.6%). The breakdown of other expected contributions is Rs250 Billion (22.5%) under CPEC, Rs107 Billion (9.6%) under Public-Private Partnership, Rs82 Billion (7.4%) by the World Bank, and Rs39 Billion (3.5%) by the Asian Development Bank.
Karachi being a megacity of 16 million has a broken and fragmented governance structure. While on paper, Karachi falls under the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation headed by the mayor, there are dozens of other entities and ruling authorities diluting KMC’s authority. These range from six district municipal corporations with fleeting and limited control of the KMC, six cantonment boards, Karachi District Council and its 38 rural union councils, Karachi Development Authority, Malir Development Authority, Lyari Development Authority, and many more. All of these conflicting authorities are there when it comes to filling their own pockets but none are there when it comes to exercise their jurisdiction for the betterment of the people and assume responsibility when it’s time for accountability instead of blaming each other causing more hindrance. A house divided against itself cannot stand. This unnecessary complex structure is the reason why no development plan made it past the drawing board. Even if the finance can be arranged for improving the lives of the city and the lives of its people, implementation issues will stand in the way of peaceful transition and change towards a better future. But I believe the time is right, with PTI emerging as the city’s political juggernaut breaking decades of tyrannical rule under PPP and MQM, the national government can bring this transformation plan to life but if they do, they’re in it for the long haul. Without dedication, hope and a single unified governance structure, the transformation of Quaid’s city will remain a distant dream.
Ahmar, Dr. Moonis. 2020. The Express Tribune. December 4. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2273832/karachi-transformation-plan.
2020. Ary News. December 2. https://arynews.tv/en/committee-formed-implementation-karachi-transformation-plan/.
Khawar, Hasaan. 2020. Global Village Space. September 11. https://www.globalvillagespace.com/the-fate-of-karachi-transformation-plan/.
ProPK Staff. 2020. ProPakistani. https://propakistani.pk/2020/09/08/ministry-of-planning-shares-karachi-transformation-plans-details/.
Staff Report. 2020. pt Profits. September 8. https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/09/08/asad-shares-funds-detail-for-karachi-uplift-projects/.
2020. The Express Tribune. November 28. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2273832/karachi-transformation-plan.