Bride of Arabian Sea

A born Karachiite, it is painful for me to notice that my city is being perpetually ignored since many years as far as visits of foreign dignitaries and heads of states are concerned. It all started with the decision to shift countrys capital from Karachi during the dictatorial rule of 60s to the newly-built city of Islamabad. Before that, dignitaries like US Presidents Dwight. D. Eisenhower, L. B. Johnson and Queen Elizabeth all came to Karachi, to name only a few. Who can forget Mr Johnsons amazement at seeing camel carts plying on Karachi roads? He immediately stopped his motorcade and talked to one of the camel-drivers, Bashir Sarban. Later Bashir visited United States on Mr. Johnsons invitation and became a celebrity overnight. No personality of President Johnsons status graces this city with his presence any longer. All VVIPs and foreign dignitaries go to Islamabad now or visit Lahoreif they are to go anywhere else at all. Examples are too numerous to quote, most recent being that of the Turkish President. One wonders why do we, then, waste so much money on infrastructure development in Karachi-on building wide roads, bridges, flyovers, under-passes and signal free corridors? Why waste precious funds if nobody is interested in marketing this neglected city to the world leaders and industry captains? Karachi may not have a long history like Lahore but its significance in the history of Pakistan cannot be denied. It is the birthplace and place of burial of our founder, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. How ironic is it that no notable personality was brought here in the last many years, not even to pay tribute to the founder of the nation, as is the customary protocol everywhere else in the world. In recent years, Karachi has also become so much safer. So one sees no reason for foreign delegations not being brought here. After all, 16 million people live here, making it the most populous city of Pakistan. Karachi now boasts of beautifully-laid out parks where state banquets worthy of the prestige of visiting heads of state can be held by the City government on behalf of Karachi citizens. The old sobriquet of 'City of Lights is now true again of Karachi. The commercial and economic hub of Pakistan, the countrys biggest commercial metropolis and port city is waiting with lights in its eyes for leaders of the world. -MOHAMMED ALI JAWAID, Karachi, April 15.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt