Saturday, September 1, 2018

Can PTI Help Fix Pakistan's Financial Capital Karachi's Problems?

What are the biggest problems in Karachi's governance? What must the government do improve water, sanitation, transport and infrastructure issues faced by the megacity's population?

Should Karachi be a separate province? Should the local bodies law be changed to devolve power and allocate greater resources to the municipal governments in Sindh?

Water and Sanitation Spending in Karachi. Source: World Bank

What have other nations done to deliver better municipal services to their citizens? Can Pakistan learn from others' experience?  How can big cities like Karachi finance, build and manage the infrastructure needed to deliver better services?

What can the incoming PTI leadership in Islamabad do to help Karachi-ites in spite the limitations of the 18th Amendment?

Azad Labon Ke Sath host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf and Riaz Haq

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Karachi's Safety Ranking Improves Amid Declining Crime Rates

Gangs of Karachi

Gangster Politicians of Karachi

Karachi is World's Fastest Growing Megacity

Karachi's Human Development Index

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25


Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

Transforming Karachi into a Livable
and Competitive Megacity
A City Diagnostic and Transformation Strategy

Over the past 10 years, capital expenditures in the water and sanitation sector
totaled over US$65 million. The vast majority of this investment was undertaken
with the support of the provincial and federal governments. The amount of
investment has been decreasing since 2008 (figure 3.6). The investment level is
insufficient to close the current gap in terms of access and quality and to keeping
pace with growing demand and service targets.
Additionally, the actual investment amount is far from the estimated investment
requirements for water supply to ensure universal access to safe and affordable
drinking water by 2030, one of the Sustainable Development Goals. In
2007, the JICA WSS Master Plan for Karachi estimated the total investment
needs for both WSS at US$2.6 billion (2008–25).
Karachi’s water and sewerage crisis is foremost a governance and institutional
one. Without a viable governance framework that clearly delineates the appropriate
roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders in policy making, service
delivery, and regulation, the long-term effects of technical, financial, or internal


Water supply in Karachi is highly irregular and inequitable. Data show that
access to improved water sources has declined in the past 10 years in Karachi,
slipping from 90 percent coverage of the population in 2006–07 to 86 percent
in 2014–15 (figure 3.3). Further, rationing of water supply is widespread in
most places, particularly in poor neighborhoods. More than 50 percent of
Karachi’s population lives in informal settlements, and most of them face
severe shortages of water and a lack of proper sewerage systems (ADB 2007).
Water availability often ranges from two hours every two days to four hours
per day at very low pressure. Due to the lack of alternatives—as groundwater
is brackish and KWSB is the only service provider—many households also rely

Riaz Haq said...

Sindh govt join hands with World Bank on various projects worth $10bn

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that his government’s policy is very clear. He is working for transforming governance economic growth, sustainable development and human capital development. “I am committed to achieving these goals through accountability to the core of government, encouragement of economic growth, liberalisation of the agriculture sector and through strengthening population management and early childhood development,” he said.

Several projects including Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement project worth $86 million, in which the provincial government has to put in $14 million to start the project, Karachi Urban Management (KUM), a $200 million project, Karachi Urban Mobility project worth $400 million, Karachi Water and Sewerage project worth $640 million also came under discussion. These three projects had needed some provincial government approvals and to finalise investment plan to start the project.


The World Bank has proposed $200 million for Karachi Urban Management Project. The chief minister said that the objective of the project is to enhance urban management service delivery of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and other districts metropolitan corporation (DMCs).

The proposal is to provide performance-linked block grants to six DMCs and KMC for local level infrastructure and municipal services. A capital development grant was proposed for KMC for flood management and rehabilitation of urban drainage infrastructure.

The chief minister directed P&D Chairman Mohammad Waseem to call a joint meeting of local bodies and secretary local government to finalise the KUM Project so that necessary recommendation could be firm up for final approval.


The World Bank proposed $400 million for Karachi Urban Mobility. The project is aimed at improving urban mobility, accessibility and road safety in Karachi. Under the project, the WB would construct Yellow Line corridor, including the development of infrastructure rehabilitation and BRTs construction system.

The chief minister approved the project and directed P&D chairman and Transport secretary to move forward with the project by completing all the required formalities and also sends the concept paper to Economic Affairs Division.


The goal of Sindh Water & Agriculture Transformation & Climate Resilience project is transforming water management and agriculture production towards higher levels of water productivity and improve climate resilience. The WB has proposed $300 million and the provincial government share would be $150 million.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that under project rehabilitation of canal system on the right of Dadu and Rice Canal and on the left bank of Akram wah, Ghotki Feeder and the Fulleli system would be made. He also added that under the project advance irrigation reforms have been proposed and masterplans for the monitoring system of right bank barrages would also be evolved.


Transformation and Revitalisation of the Fisheries Sectors (TRFS) will cost about Rs150 million. The chief minister said that the goal of the project was to transform and revitalize fisheries and aquaculture by improving management, competitiveness and community.

The project would introduce sustainable management systems, including spatial planning, vessel registration and licensing and data management. The chief minister said that under the project private sector participation would be incentivized and would build value chains. He added that the project also aims at improving nutritional food security and livelihoods for women and families and strengthening institutions.

Riaz Haq said...

Can a revival in #Karachi spark change in #Pakistan? #Violence is declining sharply, but poor basic services plague businesses. #water #sanitation #Transport

Riaz Haq said...

#Karachi a victim of poor planning, bad governance – and floods. "...the same story is repeated in varying degrees across all the cities of #SouthAsia – Rawalpindi, #Mumbai, #Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, #Dhaka and on and on."
#climatechange |The Third Pole

Many parts of Karachi went without electricity for 50 hours, prompting Sindh’s Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to ask, “What kind of service is this?” Internet and mobile phone networks were disrupted all over Pakistan’s largest city.

Women, children and the elderly waded through waist-deep sewage to reach rescue boats as rain continued to pelt down; the boats had to navigate around floating furniture, submerged cars, motorcycles and even shipping crates pushed around by the force of the floodwater.

The meteorological department totalled August rainfall in Karachi at 484 millimetres (19 inches), with the highest daily rainfall of 130 mm at PAF Faisal Base on August 28.

“Last year, through the three monsoon months, the PAF Faisal Base recorded a total of 345 mm of rains; this year in just two months, over 600 mm rain has been recorded there,” Sardar Sarfaraz, the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s Karachi head told The Third Pole.

“The rains are unprecedented; and in all likelihood, this seems like an erratic event, with the last such intense rain recorded in 1931,” said Sarfaraz. “I cannot say with finality that this rainfall can definitively be attributed to climate change.”

Noman Ahmed, dean of the Architecture and Management Sciences department at Karachi’s NED University, said some encroachments happened in connivance with different government agencies, while some were “organic”.

“For example, the encroachments on Gujjar Nala were facilitated by the KMC functionaries by providing inappropriate leases [on its edges – in areas that were not supposed to be inhabited in the first place],” Ahmed said.

“The alignment of the nalas [drains] have clearly been demarcated in all land-use plans available with the different civic agencies,” said Ahmed, and therefore selling plots of land was nothing less than a “criminal act”.

He did not blame those who had bought the plots. Ahmed said people had started building on the dry bed of Gujjar Nala because for decades there was nothing more than a thin stream. “They occupied the land without knowing how vulnerable they were to sudden inundation, and this is what happened in recent rains.”

Architect and heritage consultant Marvi Mazhar also attributed “unplanned and unregulated growth, lack of monitoring and corruption” as major reasons for the havoc the rains wrought on the city of 16 million, which has been heavily “concretised, with not enough soft ground left for water to be absorbed”.

The problem has persisted despite court judgements, including an order from the country’s chief justice that all illegal construction be removed from Karachi – whether on or off the drains.

Describing the removal of encroachments as “a very tricky affair”, Ahmed said that very often debris left behind by a demolition crew causes more obstruction to water flow than the original buildings.

“These drains can actually be added into beautification plans with plantations on either side, and run across the city like in Amsterdam,” said Mazhar. Instead, she said, they are seen and treated as an eyesore with garbage thrown alongside them, which invariably slips into the drain thereby choking it. She held both residents and the government responsible for the indifference shown towards Karachi’s garbage.

Now Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he wants a “permanent solution” to problems associated with drains, the sewage system and water supply.

Riaz Haq said...

South Asia cities face $215bn-worth flood risks

As global attention focused on hurricanes Harvey and Irma, more than 41 million people across South Asia battled floods and displacement.

From Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, floods could cost South Asia -- home to a fourth of the world’s people -- as much as $215 billion each year by 2030, according to the World Resources Institute’s global flood analyser launched in 2015.

“Companies with operations on coasts, next to large rivers, on low-lying flood plains and in urban areas with poor drainage and sanitation are at greatest risk,” said Tom Hill, executive director, crisis and security consulting, at Control Risks in New Delhi. "More rain and extreme weather will not only hit businesses in South Asia, but also global companies that source their products and raw materials from the region."

At least 1,200 died last month as water swamped cities like India’s financial capital Mumbai, its technology hub, Bengaluru, Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, Pakistan’s financial heart, Karachi, as well as swathes of Nepal and India’s eastern states of Bihar and Assam. In the coming decade, devastating floods are expected to increase as changing weather patterns worsen risks in the region, climate researchers say.

Already floods affect more than 9.5 million people in the region each year, with GDP worth $14.4 billion and $5.4 billion at risk in India and Bangladesh respectively, according to WRI.

In 2016 alone, Asia reported losses worth $87 billion from 320 natural disaster events, the world’s biggest reinsurer Munich Re reports. Of this, $77 billion were uninsured losses.

Riaz Haq said...

Incomplete roads in #Pakistan's #economic hub #Karachi — the biggest city in #Pakistan and the third-largest in the world — show what happens when a megacity becomes a political orphan. Karachi ranks as having the worst public #transport system globally.

Karachi was once well connected by a circular railway but corruption and mismanagement in the transportation sector brought the city to a grinding halt in the late 1990s, according to Adam Weinstein, research fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Many of the railway tracks have become illegal slums with people moving from smaller towns to earn more.

“Karachi has yet to find a humane way to address land encroachment that stymies development and relocate people without incurring immense political blowback,” said Weinstein.


Muhammad Ali Jinnah Road has always had its share of traffic, but lately the main thoroughfare that connects central Karachi to its major port is in a state of near constant gridlock.

An elevated street eats up two of the road’s three lanes, but it’s empty — part of an incomplete project to create express lanes for public buses that was supposed to finish three years ago. It’s one of many towering structures scattered throughout the Pakistani city that were part of the latest plans to bring a modern transportation to Karachi, one of the world’s fastest-growing cities and the third-biggest by population.

Karachi ranks as having the worst public transport system globally, according to a 2019 study by car-parts company Mister Auto that looked at 100 major cities. It serves about 42% of Karachi’s commuters, relying on decades-old, overcrowded buses that use the roof as a second deck for passengers at times. Roads are filled with potholes, not all traffic signals are automated, and it’s common to see drivers running red lights. And yet the former capital is home to Pakistan’s main ports and the regional headquarters for companies such as Standard Chartered Plc and Unilever Plc, helping it generate half of the nation’s tax revenue.


“Karachi, despite its importance, is a political orphan,” said Arsalan Ali Faheem, a consultant at DAI, a Bethesda, Maryland-based company that advises on development projects. “The federal government is limited in what it can do, and the city government controls less than a quarter of the city. It means that Karachi’s problems belong simultaneously to everyone and no one.”


“If cities can provide quality infrastructure, it by default increases productivity,” Uzair Younus, a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said by phone. He’s the host of the “Pakistonomy” podcast and a former Karachi resident. “An administrative setup that is unable to provide decent mass transit to the largest city in the country will always be viewed with skepticism.”

Riaz Haq said...

Interesting trivia: #Karachi’s population in 1901 was 115,000 and total #trade volume that year was Rs 180 million. Main #exports: wheat, cotton & wool

Riaz Haq said...

Last year #Karachi accounted for 51% of #Pakistan’s #exports. #Lahore came in 2nd with 18% and #Faisalabad 3rd with 12%

Riaz Haq said...

Green Line buses for Karachi

There is a reason for Karachiites to smile as the first tranche of 40 buses of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), also known as the Green Line, have arrived. It is part of the Rs27 billion allocation under the gigantic Rs1.1 trillion Karachi Transformation Project. The Green Line project was conceived by the previous government but could not materialise in time. A total of 80 buses would run on the first-ever mass transit in Karachi as a special 22km corridor has been built for the purpose. It is hoped that half a million commuters would benefit from this in the first phase scheduled to get operational in two months.

With a hurrah beginning, one hopes the metropolitan will see development in all civic avenues. This 22km driveway transcends a mere 20% of the city, and what is needed is similar mass transit buses plying on other arteries, especially the peripheral routes. The potholes-laden roads and streets are in need of re-carpeting, as they are a nuisance to motorists. Last but not the least is the Karachi Circular Railway, which has become a white elephant project owing to a plethora of blunders and non-seriousness of relevant authorities. It is unimaginable to learn that the city is deprived of its due share of water, and it necessitates an immediate completion of K-IV project, apparently a victim of provincial and federal bureaucracy. Similarly, rainwater drains and desilting are other blind corners that need instant attention to make the city liveable.

The megacity of around 25 million people has for long been a victim of poor planning and biased allocations when it comes to development. This is why its civic infrastructure is dilapidated, and people long for even basic recreation facilities. This culture of ad hocism has been toiling and heart-burning for Karachiites who are, in fact, the real revenue generators for the country. The ruling PTI, which has a lion’s share in the National Assembly from Karachi, has a responsibility and mandate to deliver. Erecting an edifice of a modern metropolitan cannot be lingered on any mo

Riaz Haq said...

Private funding model agreed for #Karachi Circular #Railway. #KCR will serve 457,000 riders daily, rising to one million before the end of initial 33 year concession period. #Electric #trains will operate on the railway for 17 hours daily. #Pakistan

THE Pakistan federal government has approved a proposal for the construction and operation of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) using a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Construction of the 43km double track line is expected to take around three years, and will cost Rs 220 billion ($US 2.92bn).

Mr Asad Umar, minister for planning, development and special initiatives chaired the PPP Authority Board meeting in Islamabad on January 25, where the proposals were reviewed.

Under the proposal, the private sector will finance the construction, civil works, electrical and mechanical works, as well as the operations and maintenance of the KCR.

The Pakistan government will provide capital viability gap funding in order to improve the financial viability of the project. This is expected to be around Rs 80-90bn which would be provided in the first three years of the concession being operational.

The PPP Authority Board also decided that the railway board would be requested to make 13 properties on the route available for lease for 99 years. This is designed to meet the initial financing since the profit will ultimately go to Pakistan Railways (PR).

The KCR is expected to serve 457,000 passengers per day when it opens, and this is expected to rise to one million by the end of the initial 33 year concession period. Electric trains will operate on the railway for 17 hours each day.

Asad said that KCR is an important part of the Karachi transformation plan and will play a pivotal role in providing an affordable and reliable public transport system.

Riaz Haq said...

#Karachi Green Line Ridership Stats For First 3 Days! Total 81,000 passengers!! 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,000 on next and 32,000 on the third day. #greenlineforkarachi #Pakistan

The Green Line Bus service has become fully operational, 80 buses could be spotted moving around from 7am till 10pm.

The service was fully started recently. Inside the entrance, one will have to head downstairs to a two level basement and will find the ticketing area on a first level. Moreover, one can buy tickets in two ways one of which is going to the ticketing booth and pay Rs 55 for a ticket for whether you are travelling to the station ahead or to all 22 stations.

However, another better and economical way is to buy a Rs 100 card which can be topped up. As you reach a station to get off, the machines there will deduct your fare as per kilometre of your travelling.

During the first three days of the service going fully operational, a total of 81,000 passengers benefited from the service. 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,0

Riaz Haq said...

Sindh government launched Emergency service Rescue 1122 from Karachi

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah inaugurated the service.

The service is aimed at providing immediate medical aid to people and shifting them to hospitals in emergencies.

Initially, fifty ambulances have been provided for the service which will be increased to 230 across the province.

The service will be initiated in other Divisions and districts in the second Phase.