Dear Shehbaz Sharif, what makes you think “Karanchi” wants to be like Lahore?

Published: July 3, 2018
SHARES
Email

Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of ousted Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the head of Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz (PML-N), waves to supporters during an election campaign meeting in Karachi on June 25, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

Shehbaz Sharif’s pre-election visit and recent comments regarding “Kiranchi”, stereotyping an entire community, seem to have created some ripples in an already charged up political environment in Karachi. 

At a time when Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is badly fragmented; Pak Sarzameen party (PSP) is cementing its position in the upcoming elections; Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is an utter failure even after two consecutive terms in Sindh; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is suffering from several in-house ticket issuance problems, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is trying to fill up the current void by Shehbaz’s visit to Karachi and quite recently, a jalsa in PPP-stronghold Lyari.

After the systematic dismantling of MQM, due to some verbal vitriol by its London-based supreme leader, the party has lost its hold on areas that were once considered as its strongholds. Further fragmentation within the party has left the Karachi electoral battlefield open for some positive and healthy competition, which was earlier nearly impossible due to the element of fear and intimidation that prevailed during all the previous election years.

After the fall of Nawaz Sharif and the rise of Shehbaz, PML-N seems to have taken a non-confrontational approach and the focus is entirely on the upcoming elections. Shehbaz’s claim to fame is the remarkable development he carried out in Lahore, which he intends to replicate in Karachi if given a chance from NA-249.

But is it fair to say that he will turn Karachi into Lahore?

I do not believe that it is.

Karachi is home to hordes of migrants, reaching the metropolis almost on a daily basis in search of work. This has caused an exponential rise in the population for which the city’s resources aren’t enough. Karachi has a population that is large enough to be a country with a separate government setup and several provinces within.

While Lahore enjoys unity of command and not a very diverse populace, Karachi provides refuge to job seekers from north of Pakistan to interior Sindh and Balochistan. Moreover, the plethora of Afghan refugees have now started their businesses in Karachi and a number of them are also allegedly involved in crime in the city.

The residents of Lahore own their city, while the residents of Karachi who originally hail from other provinces, prefer to associate themselves with their home towns and villages rather than fully integrating into the Karachi lifestyle. They then treat the city like a temporary abode and hence, that leads to a number of civic problems that this city has been facing. As if this wasn’t enough, the previous federal government directed most of its resources towards Lahore, at a time when Karachi was yearning for their attention.

The Green Bus project is still moving at snail’s pace, the entire city is a garbage dump, and the water crisis seems to be getting worse. This criminal neglect by both the provincial and federal government has brought Karachi to the situation where it is today. The PPP government could not address the issues of sanitation, health, education and infrastructure even after staying in power for a decade. MQM was a complete disappointment, right after General (retired) Pervez Musharraf stepped down followed by the departure of Mustafa Kamal (the two gentlemen who actually did something for the city).

Shehbaz needs to realise that Karachi is not the same as Lahore and it will not take the same things to build up this city. Unlike Lahore, the work will not start from ground zero; it will start from “underground”, thanks to the previous politicians who have dragged this city down to the drains, quite literally. Basing his campaign on turning Karachi into Lahore will not be fruitful because these two cities have always been at loggerheads. It is not very smart to appeal to Karachi by comparing it to Lahore; Karachiites will not take that well! Karachi has its own problems and its own identity. It does not want to be like Lahore; it just wants to be the city that it deserved to be. Who advised Shehbaz that Karachi wants to be like Lahore? Saying that he wants to fix and better the port city without any comparisons would have sufficed.

During his campaign, he addressed the Urdu-speaking community as paan-eaters (betel leaf eaters) and mocked the funny pronunciation they have when it comes to Urdu grammar. Safe to say, Karachi was not pleased, especially because the comments were coming from a Lahori.

However, while many from the Urdu-speaking community are objecting to this, I would rather deem it as a wakeup call for the members of a community that once took pride in its manners, culture and language. Urdu speakers were known for being fluent in rich Urdu, exhibiting flawless grammar and nuances. That culture has been replaced by Urdu slang and distorted pronunciations. The “aareeya hai, jaareeya hai, tairay ko, mairay ko” has further caused a gradual decline in the quality of spoken Urdu in our neighbourhoods. Paan and gutka were never a symbol for us Karachiites but are now the identity of the Urdu-speaking community, hence the mention by Shehbaz in his recent statement.

The people of Karachi will have to vote for people based on the candidates’ previous performance and not on the basis of language, caste, sects or peer pressure. Vote for the candidate’s vision, his achievements. This city badly needs a complete revival and we need leaders like Musharraf, Imran Khan, Kamal, Naimatullah Khan, Shehbaz and so on to bring that change. In future, this city will have to be governed with a completely different strategy and governance model. The current provincial model, with a rural centric party managing the affairs of this great urban centre, seems to have backfired miserably. Our city needs experts and professionals for its revival, just like any sick industry that requires professional intervention to kick-start it back to life.

Arsalan Faruqi

Arsalan Faruqi

An entrepreneur with a degree in computer engineering and an MBA from IBA Karachi. He tweets as @arsalanfaruqi.

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

  • Mi ahmed

    shabaz shareef could be the best thing happen to khi ever …. but karachites are very very racist ….. they would never vote for him … don’t forget the peace in khi is establish by pmln after 35 years …… but still i think people of khi never vote for a progressive politician only cause he is Punjabi …..Recommend

  • sterry

    The problem in Karachi is that people have to accept the shortcomings of themselves and their thinking. By voting in parties who do nothing for Karachi except support illegal activities, they have wound up with the mess they now have. Altaf Hussain has been exposed for the anti state Indian supported goon that he is but still a large segment of the Karachi population who migrated from India cannot get rid of their bias against native Pakistanis, preferring instead to vote for their own ethnic group. It’s time that Karachiities think of themselves as Pakistani and vote for whom they think will deliver for their city. It is the biggest city in the country and it deserves to be as good as the other cities up country.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Today after the rains Lahore stands devastated….areas that never flooded are waist deep in water, massive sink holes have erupted….this is a direct result of bad engineering, political indulgence, corrosive corruption …. and heavy rains.
    But Lahore is a city that sees heavy rain and yes low lying areas always flood …but what I saw on the social media and on TV was terrible ….. if Karachi is to turned into THAT ….I agree with the author, we don’t need THAT….10years of the PPP/ MQM has been bad enough.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Karachi is a Muhajjir city. Of Urdu speakers. For 70 years Punjab overlords did
    nothing for Karachi. Why the interest now? Please, stay in Punjab. Do not come.
    Nope, Karachi does not need lohars from Raiwind Palace.
    Nope, Karachi does not want a second hand politician like Munna Sharif.
    Nope, because he belongs to the Darbari Cabal from Jati Umra.
    Nope, Karachi does not need a fake leader, uncle of foul mouthed Maryam.
    Nope, Karachi is better off without the abba of Hamza, of ‘Saaf Pani Scheme’.
    Nope, Karachi needs more than truckloads of money, that was shunted from
    Isloo treasury, directly, to the Lahori Darbar of the Sharif Dynasty..
    Nope, Karachi will need trainloads of money to fix it’s problems.
    Nope, Karachi wants to be a separate province. No more Sons of the Soil rule.
    Nope, Karachi is already plundered daily, does not need the Lahori thugs coming in.Recommend

  • Patwari

    There you go, see, you illuminated the issue. Muhajjirs are treated
    like foreigners in their own country,…by Punjabis….you see it now?Recommend

  • ABKhan

    Yes Karachities are very racist and Shehbaz is not who call them “karanchi wala” and pan walaRecommend

  • Sane

    You are here to spread hatred among various language speaking. Peace in Karachi is due to Army and Rangers, not by PML (N) or PPP. In Karachi there are numerous shopkeepers and businessmen having Urdu speaking customers. While this is quite contrary in Punjab.Recommend

  • Mi ahmed

    karachi wala supported and Indian and Iranian backed party for 30 years …. what do u called that ????Recommend

  • Mi ahmed

    yes by giving them the most resourcefull city to live ……Recommend

  • Mi ahmed

    paris and London recently floded after rain…….. Recommend

  • Mi ahmed

    my perdictions for khi .
    khi will never be a stable city cause of the narrow minds lives here.
    khi will never use its 100 % economic potential cause most uneducated people lives here
    khi ‘s Biasism will never allow for it to use potential …
    khi one day has to follow Lahore ‘s foot steps no matter what.
    khi education system is next to destruction …need decades to fix …
    actualy every system in khi need to fix education , transport, roads , departments , every thing is destroyed by their favourite party mqm , and need decades to fix ….Recommend

  • sterry

    This is where you show you’ve lost it with your confused rantings. People don’t need to vote for Shahbaz Sharif or any other leader but it should be based on policy and informed evaluation. Not because people have to vote for a Muhajir in a Muhajir city ! Your nonsensical rambling about Karachi being a Muhajir city shows how disconnected you are from reality. Karachi is a mutli ethnic city with the largest Pashtun population in the world and not just Indian origin Muhajirs . It sounds like you are still under the spell of Altaf Bhai who would organize large gatherings where his followers who listen with rapture from every confused word from London! Altaf Hussain has been discredited and exposed as anti state. You saw that a decade of Musharraf as an Urdu speaking Karachiite gave nothing to Karachi and that years of local politicians did nothing so why not try PTI or PML for a change? By the way Karachi is the biggest city in Sind and if you dislike Sindis or any of the other native sons of the soil, you can take a quick train ride east to India and you’ll be surrounded by people who look, sound, smell and wear the same clothes! Your hatred of Pakistanis and your attempt to divide people on ethnic basis was exposed by the words of Altaf Hussain who spewed the same drivel against native Pakistanis. Just grow up and talk about issues and not about your hatred of Pakistanis which is becoming tiring!Recommend

  • only truth is nature

    Don’t take Shahbaz seriously.Recommend

  • Parvez

    You have to be joking……Recommend

  • Parvez

    As an afterthought I realized you are not joking…..you are in denial.Recommend

  • ABKhan

    Punjab supported “Modi ka yaar” for more than 30 years, what do you call that?Recommend

  • Patwari

    Please understand, Darbari Nawaz visited Karachi twice, during his third and final premiership. Karachiites use to throw rocks at his BMW. He use to visit at night.
    Why would Muhajjirs vote for someone who regards them as an ATM machine? Well, it’s take the money, go back to Fortress Punjab. Build a road to Raiwind.
    Unlike Lahore, Karachi is a diverse city. Belonging to Muhajjirs and anyone who
    wants live there. Be assured, Muhajjirs are dominant, and welcoming.
    Unlike Sons of the Soil, Muhajjirs welcome anyone and everyone to their city.
    Because Punjabis Pathans, Baloch and even Sindhis are treated with respect by Muhajjirs in their city, of Karachi. Better than their home provinces.
    Rest assured Karachiites will not vote a disrespectful Munna Shahbaz who calls them karanchi walas. Or pan walas. That hate language belongs in Punjab.
    After all you remember Model Town Massacre? Joseph Colony Massacre?
    Easter Sunday Massacre in Gulshan e Iqbal Park in Lahore? Or the Christian
    couple beaten, tortured then hanged and burnt to death near Lahore? Or Wagah Border Crossing Bombing? Or making secret deals with terrorists to leave Punjab
    alone? All this happened under Shahbaz’s watch. Why would they want him in Muhajjir City? To practice his incompetence again by the sea?
    No, Humza this kind of mindset is unacceptable in Karachi. Non negotiable.
    It works and is, maybe, acceptable, only in Punjab.
    So you see why a Punjabi politician like Shahbaz is not welcomed?.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Sorry, Ameer ul Momineen vote did not pass in Parliyamint.
    Otherwise Nawaz and by default, Munna Sharif, would be
    Punjabi wala Amirs.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well, we have a London wala samdhi, Ishaq Dar, Ashianna Scheme wala
    bhai Munna Sharif, Saf Pani wala, bhanja Hamza, Youth Entrepreuner
    Scheme wali [with a foul mouth] Maryam, Avenfield Apartments wala Kuptaan Safdar retd.,19 London properties waley, do betey, Hussain, and Hasan….
    Sitting on top of the pyramid,…Dubai iqama wala, 3 times ex PM Nawaz.
    All have on going corruption cases against them.
    Looking bad. Very bad.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Here is something that’s very striking and sad. And sheds light on
    a Sons of the Soil issue :- inferiority complex.
    The Sons of the Soil are always claiming descent from Arab armies of Mohd. bin Qasim. Or it’s from the Persians. Or they are descended from the bedraggled remainder of Alexander the Great armies, that dragged
    through, or they are Parthians from central Asia.
    In reality and in truth they are descended from the great Indus Civilization. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro are the main cities, among others. This civilization was thriving, from Peshawar to Rajasthan and points east, had commercial links with Mesopotamia, Sumerians, Akkadians Assyrians and of course Persians.
    Indus Civilization was a contemporary of the Pharaohs of Egypt, of
    Darius and Cyrus the greats and Hammurabi. [while the Greeks were
    still living in tents] Harappa and Mohenjo Daro had internal plumbing.
    This magnificent civilization goes back 5,000 years!!
    Yet the Sons of the Soils never claim descent from this Great Indus
    Civilization. They are all Arabs/Persians/Parthians. Living in Pakland.
    Very sad, very ridiculous to deny your true heritage.Recommend

  • Sane

    There are few clowns in Pakistani politics. He is one of them.Recommend