Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday presented his Karachi-specific 10-point agenda during a political rally in the port city.
Two weeks after unveiling his 11-point national programme to turn the country into ‘Naya Pakistan’, the PTI chief explained how he would rid Karachi of its biggest problems if he comes into power in the upcoming general elections.
1. Holding mayoral elections
Khan started off with Karachi’s water shortage and linked it with a lack of authority given to the city’s mayor — something he said he would change by holding mayoral elections.
“We will change the administration system,” said Khan. “We will get this city a directly elected mayor. We will bring someone who knows administration. He will have a specialist team and we will empower him.
Today the Karachi mayor says he has responsibility but no authority. Power was devolved from centre to provinces but it did not trickle further down. This is why I am contesting elections from Karachi this time.”
2. Educational system
Khan vowed that he would improve Karachi’s school-level educational system to the point where people would prefer state schools over private ones.
“Seventy per cent students go to government schools, which are in a state of disrepair,” he said. “In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for the first time, 150,000 kids have transferred from public to private schools. We will improve government schools so the poor man’s kids can get educated.”
“We will also build international level universities in Karachi,” he added.
3. Healthcare and hospitals
Khan claimed that he has successfully replicated the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital model in several of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s medical facilities and promised to do the same in Karachi.
“In KP we are running hospitals as private hospitals are run, like Shaukat Khanum,” he said. “We have replicated SKH’s model in KP’s government hospitals. We will do this for Karachi’s hospitals too.”
Khan declared that police’s inefficiency is one Karachi’s “biggest problem” but said that the department can be improved if given autonomy a la KP police.
“The biggest problem of Karachi is police and law and order,” he said. “Instead of saving people, police here commits extrajudicial murders. Policemen like Rao Anwar have killed 440 and then Zardari praises him.
“I’ve been in KP for 5 years, tell me one murder that KP police has committed. How many of my rivals in KP have FIRs against them? None because the police there is professional. People of Karachi when we win the elections you wouldn’t need Rangers; we will make police do all the work.”
5. Business and industry
Khan said he would bring down the cost of doing business and devise a business-friendly policy. “We assure that we will do all in our power to control cost of doing business,” he said. “We will do all we can to bring businesses back so our youth could get jobs. We will improve industrial sites and give easy loans too.”
6. Power shortage
Khan told the Sindh government to not hide behind excuses as it is their responsibility to ensure that the Karachiites don’t suffer from power outages and load-shedding.
“The government says that K-Electric is not honouring its contract,” he said. “We don’t care what K-Electric is doing because it’s the government’s responsibility. We will take this responsibility and provide cheap electricity. We will end power theft.”
7. Playgrounds and sporting facilities
Khan expressed his dismay at the lack of playgrounds and sporting facilities for youth in Karachi, saying: “We have such a huge city and no playgrounds. Boys here play on streets. Karachi has had so many stars. What’s the reason that that production has stopped. We will build grounds. We created 100 grounds in KP. I promise we will do the same here.”
The PTI chief rued that Karachi has become a concrete jungle — something he said needs to change to counter the threat of global warming.
“When you are in a plane and look down from above all you can see is cement and homes,” he said. “Remember that Pakistan will be the seventh most affected country from global warming. We planted 1 billion trees in KP. We experimented in KP, learned from it and now we would do the same in the entire country and make it green.”
People are dying in the interior Sindh due to intoxicated water,” he said. “There is no system of sewerage here. Fishes are dying and fishermen are worried. We will clean our water.”
10. Circular railway
Khan said the easiest way to relieve Karachi of its internal traffic congestion is by giving the city a circular railway transit system.
“If any city needs an Orange train it is Karachi,” he said. “There is so much traffic here. Circular train will help.”