Karachi Ka Muqadma
Karachi Ka Muqadma
Karachi - not only the largest city but also the economic hub of Pakistan - is seemingly declared an orphan, as the Sindh government has decided to impose new taxes on its citizens for the very basic civic services which are not being provided to them.
Instead of admitting its failure to deliver the essential amenities to the 20 million people and devise plans/ concrete strategies to improve the worsening situation, the government is adamant to further burden them through new taxes - Rs100 fire tax and Rs200 conservatory tax to be collected through the K-Electric monthly bills as well as Rs200 garbage tax with the help of Sui Southern. The first taxes are related to the KMC (Karachi Metropolitan Corporation) and the third to the SSWMB (Sindh Solid Waste Management Board).
This move clearly suggests that the people of Karachi are godforsaken and no one is ready to take responsibility for managing the megacity.
It is estimated that around 12,000 tons of garbage is produced daily in the city. And at least 40 percent of this solid waste isn't collected by the civic agency. This sad state of affairs multiplies the problems by blocking the sewerage system, which is already in shambles, and creating an unhygienic atmosphere around the city. Are the citizens responsible for this mess? Certainly not but the provincial government and the local administration - the only culprits - are on one hand shifting the blame and on the other imposing additional financial burden on the citizens.
Same is the case with fire and conservatory taxes. Why the government and the city bosses have failed to establish a firebrigade service that can meet the needs of the megacity amid the rising number of deadly infernos? Are the huge funds available after the 18th Amendment not enough? Aren't the residents of Karachi already paying the different taxes? Why spending resources on large cities is still considered a crime? In which city or cities this kind of tax is being collected? Why Karachi only? Is it some kind of a laboratory?
Meanwhile, there is another puzzle. The KMC has to pay an amount of Rs7 billion as arrears to the K-Electric. It is claimed that the civic agency will pay this money in the first year. Again more questions: haven't the citizens already paid taxes to the KMC? Why double jeopardy? Are they responsible for the poor working, mismanagement and corruption in the KMC?
It is said that a total of Rs14 billion would be collected through these unjustified measures annually. Does the Sindh government lacks financial resources to cover this amount for the provision of civic services? Obviously not. The only thing lacking is the political will and the sense of responsibility.
According to a top official, they had the option of asking the provincial and federal governments to release the money, but some ministers and the Sindh governor opposed the suggestion. Well! Shouldn't these individuals be questioned for acting against the interests of the people of Karachi?
There is a strong spontaneous reaction to the these taxes with the citizens deciding to move the court to block the move.
However, there is an air of despondency in the port city as none of the political parties able to stand for the Karachi despite managing to get representation at various levels. People are fed up with this scenario and increasingly thinking in terms of civic action. This petition is part of that strategy. Please join us by signing. Your voice must be heard. Silence isn't an option.
"People are more powerful than their politicians, if they exercise their rights."