We don’t need you Mustafa Kamal!

Published: December 5, 2010
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Mustafa Kamal's civic sense is something alien to most Karachiites.

It was a bright, sunny morning and I was already late for work so I was driving a little too fast. I had to finish a few things as it was the day before the Eid holiday.

When the Ayesha Manzil traffic signal turned green, I sped towards Liaquatabad when suddenly I saw two young girls wearing college uniforms, stumble while trying to cross the road. In a span of just 2-3 seconds, I saw a motorcyclist slip in an effort to prevent crashing in to the girls. I hit the brakes and managed to park my car in front of the motorcyclist to save him from oncoming traffic.

I rushed out of my car and saw that the motorcyclist, a man in his early 30s, had only sustained a few minor injuries. Then, I went to the girls. They stood there as if the incident had nothing to do with them. “You should use this!” I said, pointing towards the pedestrian bridge right above us.

The reaction was unrepentant.

One girl, wearing the black scarf said:

Itna ooncha hai –  kaun charhay ga is par?”  or “This bridge is so high, who is going to use it?”

I was shocked –  especially since she had just created this situation.

The pedestrian bridges were built by Mustafa Kamal, the mayor of Karachi from 2005-2009, for the convenience and safety of its people – but are rendered useless as they are just too high.

Kamal was an intruder in our lives; someone who tried to change our age-old life style. He wanted to make us civilised but we just don’t need him!

Mustafa Kamal’s list of crimes

• Kamal dug-up roads in Karachi and for the first time, the roads were re-made and completed. He committed a crime, because we were quite happy with the broken roads.

• Kamal installed tire-busters at U-turns to stop illegal turns that caused accidents but he didn’t know what sort of people he was dealing with. We broke the tire busters and made them completely useless and now, we are happy with accidents taking place due to those wrong turns.

• Kamal made underpasses and bridges that decreased the time and distance it takes to commute. Didn’t he know that we like to reach home late so we don’t spend time with our wife and children since we were in the habit of spending hours and hours in traffic jams? But due to Kamal, we reach our homes with time to spare, so he is solely responsible for all the fights that take place between spouses as a result.

• Kamal installed proper bus-stops with overhead shelter, but why should we use them when we can stop the bus anywhere we want?

• Kamal misused funds by making a parking plaza – the first ever in Pakistan – but he was living in a fool’s paradise; he thought we were civilised people who don’t want to cause traffic jams by parking cars on roads. He was wrong. We bribe policemen and park our cars anywhere we want, and if a tow-truck picks our car up, we pay some extra bucks and get it released. What is wrong with that? I don’t understand why he wanted us to park our cars for a nominal charge in a designated space when we have roads to park our cars.

I can write endlessly about Kamal’s crimes, the man who wanted us to develop some civic sense, but it was his dream.

Mustafa Kamal, you should be the mayor of New York or London- we don’t need people like you because we throw committed and valuable people in garbage bins.

We don’t need you, Mustafa Kamal. We want to live the way we are and we don’t want anyone who helps us, as we are our biggest enemies.

Muhammad Fahed

Muhammad Fahed

An IT professional based in Karachi who likes to write on social and political issues.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.