Tuesday Aug 04, 2020
KARACHI: The country's economic and financial hub, Karachi, should be given to the Pakistan Army for at least five years for infrastructural improvements, a top industrialist said Tuesday.
"Only under the supervision of the Pakistan Army is it possible to resolve Karachi's infrastructure and other problems," Siraj Qasim Teli, the business magnate, said.
"If Karachi is to be improved, it should be handed over to the Army for at least five years," he added.
Speaking of the city's repair work, especially after the torrential rains in late July that wreaked a havoc on its infrastructure, the businessman said it was a welcome development to see the federal government doing something good for Karachi after 20 to 25 years.
The difference is clear from a two-day clean-up campaign, he remarked, referring to the work of Pakistan Army's troops after Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the military to send assistance.
Teli, the chairman of the Businessmen Group (BMG) and former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), added that those who have neglected Karachi since the 1990s "deserve no sympathy".
"The local administration has failed to alleviate the problems facing Karachi," he said. "The residents of Karachi, as well as the business and industrial communities, have lost faith in the local administration."
The services of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) should also be sought for infrastructure reconstruction, the industrialist suggested, adding that the task of improving Karachi's dilapidated road network should also be given to them.
"The work on Karachi's cleanliness can be maintained on a permanent basis only under the Army's supervision," he added, warning that "the catastrophic situation in Karachi will affect the country's economy" if it was not handed over to the military.
Towards the end of last month, the Pakistan Army was called to help the local administration in managing and dealing with the urban flooding crisis in the metropolis.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the "Army [was] called to assist civil administration for managing the urban flooding situation in Karachi".
The decision to provide assistance in relief activities in Karachi was made after PM Imran's orders a day earlier to send the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to Karachi. Sources had informed Geo News at the time that the government also sought the Pakistan Army's services for the cleaning of Karachi.
An emergency approval from the Cabinet was obtained through a circulation in this regard.
A day before that, the premier had vowed that his PTI-led federal government would not abandon the people of Karachi at a time when the city grappled with the dual challenges of coronavirus and the aftermath of the recent heavy rains.