Citizens take to streets against Karachi’s water and power mafias

Human Rights

Agitators condemn the criminal silence of ruling elites over shortage of water and prolonged power-cuts

Karachi:  On the call of Shehri Awami Mahaz, the citizens’ alliance, a large number of people – men and women, staged demonstration on Wednesday at Power House New Karachi against the unavailability of water and electricity.

The protest was led by Zehra Khan, general secretary of the Home-Based Women Workers Federation. It was third protest demonstration since Monday.

Alliance leaders said that the entire city was in a state of protest due to severe water and electricity crisis but the ruling party had maintained a criminal silence.

They said that Karachi which was once called the city of lights is now in darkness due to the misdeeds of “K-Electric” and policies of ruling class on dictates of the IMF. Besides load shedding of electricity, citizens were deprived of basic necessities like water and became hostage to tanker mafia. The lack of water and electricity in the scorching heat indicates that millions of workers in the city’s thousands of factories and workplaces, despite playing a key role in the country’s economy, were completely deprived of the civic amenities necessary to survive.

The speakers further said that every government comes to power with the claim that it will change the destiny of the city but every time the people were deceived and time proves that the lives of the city and its citizens were becoming more miserable.

Karachi, one of the largest cities in the world was in ruins due to sheer negligence of successive governments. Most of the water supply lines were broken. In many areas, drinking water lines were mixed with sewage and citizens had been forced to use this toxic water for drinking and other purposes. But the Water and Sewerage Board has done nothing to improve the system and there was no body to make it accountable for its follies.

They stressed that the political parties claiming to represent Karachi had tarnished beautiful image of the city only for their own personal petty interests & small gains. In given circumstances, the only way for the people of Karachi to transcend religious, linguistic and sectarian prejudices and become part of an alternative people’s movement to make a decisive effort to solve the real problems of the citizens.

The demonstrators demanded that the privatization of K-Electric be ended and its administrative affairs be handed over to the democratic control of the citizens, load shedding and water theft be stopped and there should be ban on illegal hydrants with immediate effect. Citizens should be rescued from the water tanker mafia. Pumping stations should be freed from the control of political and criminal mafia. New projects to improve water supply should be completed on an emergency basis.

Among the speakers were Saira Feroz of United HB Workers Union and Zahida Parveen, Shabnam Azam of Home Based Women Workers Federation, Kausar Parveen and Jamila Abdul Hafeez of Home Based Women Workers Federation Gadap Unit, home based workers Maimuna Abdul Majeed and Khairansa Ishaq, Muhammad Hanif and Qazi Khidr of National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and prominent political leader Ali Owsat Jafari.

Next protest demonstration will be held on Friday 24th July at 4.30pm at Karachi Civic Center, Gulshan Iqbal.


Sindh Courier

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