An obsolete colonial relic

Published: July 10, 2011
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The commissionerate system is obsolete, colonial relic and does not guarantee any improvement in a commoner's life

I do not trust the commissionerate system or the commissioner. I am not saying I trusted the elected representatives either – I’m Pakistani, I don’t trust anyone.

But at least I knew where they came from. We knew which ones would steal our taxes and which would build our flyovers.

For the good people of Sindh, this means that the image of Syed Mustafa Kamal valiantly trying to rescue people trapped under a bridge will be a mere memory.

The man of the people, by the people, for the people is to be replaced by a faceless Muhammad Hussein Syed appointed by the government, for the government.

What happened in the past week, soon after MQM parted ways with the ruling coalition, is as follows.

The ANP’s Rahim Khan Swati was shot dead in Qasba Colony.

Everyone started shooting.

Over 100 died in four days.

And so, the government demolished the local bodies system and brought back the ‘commissioner ate’ one.

On the face of it, there seems to be no plausible reason as to how people dying should lead directly to the overhauling of a functioning system of government.

The supporters of the system claim that the local government system ‘deteriorated the writ of the provincial government and created discrimination among the masses’. Roughly translated, this reads: the MQM’s nazims controlled everything and the PPP’s government was miffed.

If the Rangers could go out, slap the Qasba shooters on the wrist without even having to use their temporary shoot-at-sight orders, it’s clear that there is nothing wrong with the system. I don’t see how turning Orangi Town into District West and giving it a deputy commissioner would have made the Rangers do the job any better.

If you ignore the commissioner and focus on the system alone, the only thing that has changed is that those who were in the past ‘elected’ are now ‘appointed’. And if you thought that anyone in this country is ever actually elected then you’re downright naive. So the only real difference is that now the MQM has lost control, and the PPP is back in. The system itself is an obsolete, colonial relic.

As a resident of Karachi, I do not see how the new system will better my life, fix my roads, feed my people or fuel my cars.

Husna Anwar

Husna Anwar

A sub-editor for the Karachi pages of The Express Tribune.

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