QUETTA - A seminar was organised by Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN) about the need for a Master Plan of Quetta here Tuesday.
The speakers from BTTN, Quetta Development Mahaz (QDM) and Majlis Fiqr o’ Danish (MFD) shared their views, challenges, ground realities and the way forward for the need for a Master Plan for Quetta city. The seminar was moderated by Muneeb Ur Rehman, Research Fellow BTTN, Quetta. Head of BTTN Agha Ahmad Gul gave an introductory talk.
He briefed the audience about the possibilities of massive earthquakes in Quetta and argued that on account of mismanagement, corruption and improper or no town planning at all, Quetta cannot stand against such catastrophic disaster(s) that Turkiye and Syria have recently faced.
The first speaker of the seminar Farid Bugti presented a five-point solution that should be considered for any proposed master plan for Quetta. These points include: Quetta is an overpopulated city; therefore, population development should be a part of a Master Plan for Quetta; a successful model should be adopted for the said purpose instead of testing a new model; markets should not be allowed within the city; road permits should not be given to old vehicles; career counseling and provision of required skills should also be kept in the to-do list while planning such a Master Plan.
Dr Siraj Bashir, Research Director BTTN and Mr Raza Wakeel of QDM highlighted the historical significance of Quetta city and emphasised that mismanagement, massive corruption, lack of will and planning and shortage of civic sense have destructed the beauty of this beautiful valley once known as ‘Little London’.
Dr Siraj recommended dividing Quetta in multiple zones; proper settlement of Afghan refugees; making of new towns in the surroundings of the city; end to commercialisation on fertile lands; a need-based plan as the main ingredients of a Master Plan for Quetta.
He stressed that ownership of the city, valuing its essence and beauty, and rule of law were three main essentials without which a Master Plan for the city could not be made possible.
Raza also suggested handing over tenders and contracts to standard companies instead of contractors with corrupt and bad reputations.
Abdul Mateen Akhundzada, Convener QDM and Head of MFD, said that the Holy Quran also teaches and asks for ‘Aitadal’ (balance), lack of practical centrality has led the city into massive imbalance.
He also said that a Master Plan for Quetta was the need of the hour as in the next three to five decades, we might have some three million more people to cater for in the same city where the existing three million were suffering on account of lack of any master plan for the city.
Head of BTTN Agha Ahmad Gul gave concluding remarks arguing that lack of discipline, massive corruption and lack of civic sense are among the greatest hurdles to a proper Master Plan for Quetta.
“However, law and order can be improved through police, non-custom paid cars should be banned, and civic sense should be taught even in schools to our kids,” he added.