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JULY Promised land The bartering

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					JULY

                                                      Promised land?
The bartering away of the beachfront and coastline of Karachi under the guise of development is going to take away what
precious little recreational space people had. The Clifton Beach, a natural multi-class recreational space that Karachiites
and people from all over the country have always enjoyed for free, will now carry a price tag.

Under DHA‘s Waterfront Development Project, the 14-kilometre
beach between McDonalds and the Golf Club in DHA Phase VIII is
going to be turned into a $600 million series of leisure and pleasure
spots made up of seven zones with expensive commercial,
entertainment, residential, hotel and office buildings, including five-
star hotels with their very own segments of private beach. There
are plans for the reclamation of 74.5 acres of land within that area
for luxury apartments, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, an ice
skating rink, water parks and piers for luxury boats and yachts – all
upscale facilities that only the elite few can afford and enjoy.

This project is stylishly called Crescent Bay, undertaken by the
UAE construction firm Emmar, and the government claims that
about 80 per cent of the 14-km beach is earmarked for ―development projects‖ for the public. One wonders how such high-
end projects, being build at the cost of millions of dollars, be of use to the common citizens who can‘t afford any of the
luxuries being promised?

Already the fee of Rs10 per person needed for entry into Beachfront Park, which controls access to a sizable portion of the
Clifton Beach, is not going down easily with the low and lower-middle income group who haunt it in large numbers. For
them, the open beach, despite its quality, offers a respite from the drudgery of life in a city that is bursting at its seams and
undergoing perpetual civic crisis in one form or the other. A single visit to all the proposed upscale facilities will likely co st
more than the total household income of many who are right now enjoying the beach for free. Thus, entertainment of the
kind that is being proposed automatically excludes the generally public at large because of the very nature of the
‗development‘ that are to be implemented.

All over the world, the beach area is for public use and everyone
has the right to free access to the beach without obstacles or
interference. The Karachi Coastal Management Plan, prepared in
1989 by the KDA Master Plan Department with UN assistance, as
part of the Karachi Development Plan 2000, had recommended a
50-metre construction free accessible zone beyond the high water
mark. The proposed project clearly does not comply with this.

Besides this, there is the issue of environmental threat. Increased
commercialisation along the coastal belt will add to the existing
pollution, with the marine life suffering damage that is hard to
imagine.

Another interesting aspect of this whole developmental scheme is that of ownership of the beach front. Has the Defence
Housing Authority got the right to sell what it does not own? Legally, Sindh‘s coastline belongs to the Sindh government,
and according to the latter, DHA owns certain segments of the area facing the beach and not the beach itself. It seems the
Sindh government, for reasons best known to itself, is ready to sit and silently watch Karachi‘s beach area being g rabbed
under the guise of development. And the story does not end here. There is great secrecy regarding the terms under which
the beach front is being ‗developed‘. The details of the tenders the government claims to have floated are closely -guarded
secrets that we, the citizens, will never get to know.

Karachi, a city of 16-18 million people, has serious civic problems that need to be addressed urgently. The city, as it exists
now, needs a lot of restoration, reconstruction and developmental work. Attention needs to be given to the infrastructure
that exists for they are crumbling down fast.

Such development projects in a city where nearly half the population lives in katchi abadis is rubbing salt and spice on
gashing wounds.
(By Ambreen Arshad, Dawn-The Magazine-3, 01/07/2007)



                                 Families of fishermen forced to leave homes
KARACHI, July 1: Mohammad Ali, a fisherman, has recently shifted along with his family from the scenic Sunehri Point, the
place where Hub River terminates, to a relative‘s house in Soomar Goth, a few miles away. The family is one of the dozens
who have been rendered homeless by the thunderstorm that battered the city a couple of weeks back.
―We will have to live here until we are able to rebuild our house at Sunehri Point,‖ Mr Ali told Dawn.
―We have reports that some 50 to 60 residents of Sunehri Point have moved to Soomar Goth, Shams Pir, etc,‖ Humayun
Mohammad Khan, Nazim of Keamari Town said.

However, the Fisherfolk Forum representing fishermen community, says dozens of families hav e left Sunehri Point after the
thunderstorm and rain played havoc with their houses. Mohammad Ali endorses the Forum‘s claim.

Not only Sunehri Point, scores of villages falling in the limits of Keamari Town have sustained heavy damage and the worst
affected appeared to be the largest one, Gabo Pat, which has a population of more than 100,000 souls, followed by Baba
Bhit, the twin island, and Shams Pir. The other badly affected villages include Deh Allah Bano, Mindiyari, Mubarak Village,
Muwachh and Lal Bakhar.
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Nazim of Gabo Pat union council Mubarak Baloch said: ―We have listed some 300 houses and 100 poultry farms destroyed
or damaged in the storm and rain while the survey to assess the damage is yet to be completed.‖

Inhabitants of the picturesque Mubarak Village said the thunderstorm blew away the roofs of most of their houses. ―Most of
us somehow fixed the roofs and mended the houses on a self-help basis,‖ they added.

Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who visited the village a week after the thunde rstorm struck the city on Friday,
found many of the houses and other structures in a better shape. He was informed that people had to do rebuild their
houses on their own after losing hope for help from the government or NGOs.
The over 200-year-old village is quite familiar with natural calamities that had been striking it in the past. Only a few years
back, Mubarak Dam, the half-built water reservoir meant for the local population was razed to earth by monsoon rains that
also devastated quite a good number of houses and flooded most of the localities.

People in Mubarak Village said the local government did not provide them food and shelter which forced them to rebuild
their houses on a self-help basis or move to some safe place.

While the affected fishermen community complains of the government‘s indifference to their plight, the elected
representatives of the area see the other way round.

UC Nazim Mubarak Baloch says relief camps had not been set up because none of the affected people was ready to stay
in such camps. ―Instead, they preferred to repair their houses or move to their relatives‘ houses in some other area,‖ he
claimed.

The villages along the city‘s coastal belt are now bracing for the looming threat of epidemics that have already struck some
areas of the city.

The JPMC has established a 16-bed emergency health unit at Ibrahim Hyderi. However, no such arrangements have been
made for the rain-hit villages and islands in Keamari Town there was every possibility of the mixing of drinking water and
sewage in conduits.

Apart from the loss of houses and belongings, the villagers have suffered loss of their livelihood. The thunderstorm has
damaged about 200 fishing boats belonging to those living in Baba and Bhit islands, Moosa Goth, Khamisa Goth, Ha ji
Darya Khan Goth, Siku Goth, Manjar Goth, Haji Gul Hasan Goth, Noor Mohammad Goth, Pir Faqir Goth, etc.
(By Hasan Mansoor, Dawn-15, 02/07/2007)



                    Water front development: threat to eco-system and old villages
AS if twin islands of Sindh (Bundaar and Dingi) were not enough, the government has decided to develop 60,000 acres on
Hawkesbay to construct a modern city named as Sugarland City.
The project is to be implemented by a Dubai based business entity the ―Limitless‖, which is an integrated real estate
development company and is a business unit of the Dubai World, one of Dubai's leading business groups. The Limitless
was set up in July 2005, with the key objective of diversifying and globalising Dubai‘s portfolio of leading development
companies by leveraging the know-how and exposure gained by the Dubai World‘s real estate initiatives through the
Nakheel.

Presiding over a meting on June 24, 2006, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz approved the Dubai World‘s investment plan. The
Dubai World is a holding company that manages and supervises the portfolio of businesses and projects for Dubai
Government and works towards making Dubai the leading hub for the commerce and trading industry.
It was decided at the meeting that the project would be executed in two phases. In the first phase the Manora area in
conjunction with the Sandspit area and the area behind it the KPT‘s Western back waters up to KPT‘s land limits with the
Hawkesbay be offered to the group. However, environmental concerns may be resolved before underta king the project.

In the second phase, while developing the Hawkesbay beach front, it should be ensured that beach fronts are developed in
such a way that portions are available to general public for recreational purpose. One year down the road, however local
communities and stakeholders have not been told as to how the local communities and their natural resources would be
protected.

According to the official website of the City District Government of Karachi, City Nazim of Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal told
journalists that master plan to construct a new city ‗Karachi Water Front Sugarland City‘ at the Hawkesbay has been
finalised and it will be constructed on 60,000 acres at an estimated cost of $68 billion. Responding to a question, the Nazim
said that President General Pervez Musharraf had approved the plan and this project would be the biggest in the country to
provide job opportunity to millions of people.

He said the concerned authorities have been issued NOC for the construction of new city at the Ha wkesbay. The meeting
was also attended by federal minister for shipping Babar Ghori, Chief Minister of Sindh, Chief Secretary of Sindh, KPT
Chairman, representative of the Nafeel Development and the Chief Executive of the Dubai Islamic Bank.

The website of the Limitless explains the salient features of the project as under:
―The project is a joint initiative of the Limitless and the government of Pakistan to create a new, balanced waterfront
development - Karachi Water Front, on a 25,000 hectares west of the city of Karachi. The ―new city‖ would contain a
defined and carefully weighted balance of residential, commercial, recreational and entertainment facilities in state of the
art, master-planned communities. The development would also be home to special economic zones creating a hub for
trading, manufacturing and services industry supported by world-class infrastructure and amenities. Phase 1 of the project
will involve an investment of $20bn. over the next 10 years for developing more than 2000 hectares o f prime water-front
property. Subsequent phases of the project are expected to involve much larger investments.‖

According to the daily Khaleej Times of Feb 3, 2007, a visit to Pakistan by the UAE vice -president and prime minister (and
ruler of Dubai), Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, resulted in the signing of two separate MoUs to develop two

                                                              2
island cities close to the coast of Karachi. The two cities will be developed in phases over the next 10 years. Diamond Bar
Island City will be constructed with a hefty investment of $43 billion, whereas the Sugarland City will cost $68bn.

Although the government as usual has not made project details public, however various sources have been disclosing
some components of the project. According to media reports, the project also involves the construction of man-made
islands, high rises and a five star hotel.

Since the project is being planned in a highly sensitive coastal environment, it can potentially have severe impacts on local
environment and communities.

The Sandspit is the sandy beach located in the project area. The five kilometres long sandy strip hosts unique eco -system
of endangered species of green turtle. This is a major breeding point of the green turtles. The Sindh Wildlife Department
and the World Wide Fund for Nature has been working on conservation of green turtles since many years. Mega
construction schemes may not only disturb this fragile eco-system but may also completely devoid this area from green
turtles.

In the backwaters, mangroves ecosystem provides resting place to a variety of migratory birds. Noisy construction work
and enhanced vehicular movement will cause deterrence to migratory birds and they may abandon this area. The area
owned by KPT has mangroves and vegetation cover spread over 400-500 hectares (over 1000 acres). The mangrove eco-
system has multiple benefits including resting place for migratory birds and nursery for shrimp and several fish species.

Local fishing communities also use these forests for fodder and fuel. Mangrove eco-system in the Indus Delta is poorly
managed and severely threatened. Projects like Diamond Bar and Sugarland City can cause severe damage to this eco -
system.

The Hawkesbay is among the most beautiful resort places in the country. Thousands of visitors frequent beautiful locations
such as Cap Mounz, French Beach and Paradise Point on the Hawkesbay. Once the city of rich is erected, no common
man would have easy access to these charming views of nature. This will also deprive hundreds of daily wage earners at
these picnic points. A number of huts constructed in the area would also be demolished. These huts are owned by some
individuals and private companies. Local people are hired as caretakers on these huts. If these huts are removed and
people stopped visiting picnic points, several hundred local villagers will loose their livelihood resources.

Socio-economic impacts would be far greater for the ages old fishing communities living in the area. There are two union
councils on the Hawkesbay, namely Gabo Pat and Baba Island. State of development in these goths is in pathetic
condition. The Gabo Pat Union Council has more than 100 goths, some of them more than a century old. Total population
in this union council is over 100,000 people. Some of the villages have sizable population like Abdul Rehman goth (8,000),
Faqeer Mohammad (3,000).

There are nine dehs in the union council. Only two dehs (Lal Bakhar and Gound Pas) have water supply system, which is
also not reliable. The rest have no any drinking water facility provided by government. They receive water tankers
occasionally. Out of eight Basic Health Units, only one is properly functioning. Another is partially functional and others are
non-functional. Local communities have very limited transport facilities to reach the heart of city. Only two buses ply every
day to take people to and from these goths to the Lea Market.

Baba Island Union Council comprises three big islands namely Baba Island (16,000 population), Bhit Island (12,000
population) and Shams Pir Island (3,000 population). There are some large villages like Younisabad (3,500 population) and
Kaka Pir (1,000 people). Centuries old Islands and villages in this union council are also deprived of basic human needs
such as drinking water. It is strange that the government never concentrated on developing these old heirs of Karachi.

Has there been any genuine commitment with the development of people, huge investment would have been made to
improve state of human development in rural and urban areas of Pakistan. Social development indicators particularly of
health, education, drinking water and sewerage are pathetically poor in the country. In many social sector areas we lag
behind Saarc countries and in some others even stand below the poor countries of Africa. Taking just an example of
housing, the country needs 6.2 million new housing units to provide shelter to every citizen. Urban areas of Sindh require
135,000 new housing units to meet the present need and 200,000 units each year over a decade to clear the housing
backlog. Rather than investing in housing for low-income shelter less citizens, huge sum of money is being committed for
ultra-rich elite through such projects in the name of development.

Any development initiative violating the norms of sustainable development is considered as anti-thesis of development. It
would be pertinent to suggest the decision makers to take the following steps before initiating any development projects.

• Details of such business deals should be brought into public knowledge and a dialogue with relevant stakeholders should
be initiated before proceeding on the project. Secret deals make the whole process non-transparent and deprive citizens
from their basic right of access to information.

• Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997 requires a thorough environmental and social impact assessment of such
projects. This important legal binding is often ignored in large-scale public sector projects. EIA of Diamond Bar Island City
on the twin island has also not been conducted.

• The whole development package on the Karachi coast will have a cumulative impact on coastal eco -systems. Therefore,
project based EIAs may not depict true picture of environmental and social impacts. It requires strategic impact assessment
(both social and environmental) to take holistic picture of likely impacts on natural resources and local communities. It is
worth mentioning here that the Karachi coast homes an integrated fragile and complex eco -system involving vanishing
mangroves, dwindling fish species and fast disappearing migratory birds. Any development schemes of such scale would
have potential negative impact on its eco-system.

• Constructing artificial islands and mega structures on beaches will complicate the climatic impact o n Karachi. Mangroves
forests are considered as a shield to negative climatic impacts on coastal areas. It is apprehended that natural barriers to
cyclones, tides and sea winds might loose their existence inviting unforeseen climatic impact on Karachi.


                                                              3
• Exact location of the project should be announced and communities to be affected should be informed about the project
well in advance. Local communities and the Union Council Nazims are completely unaware of the project and the likely
impacts on their resources and livelihood. It is apprehended that around 200,000 residents of the Hawkesbay will be
affected due to this development. In case of large scale displacement it will bring a social disaster as displacement and
resettlement history of large projects in the country narrates horrible stories of human disaster.

• Civil society concerns on these projects should be given serious consideration. Any development causing more damage
than benefit or tilting delicate social imbalance in favour of the privileged c lass would bring social disharmony and social
stratification.
(By Naseer Memon & Zubeida Birwani,
Dawn-Economic & Business Review, Page-IV, 02/07/2007)



                              Ex-speaker PA forms indigenous citizens’ group
KARACHI: Three hundred residents of Karachi‘s coast agreed on the establishment of the Karachi Maqami Sahilee
Tehreek (KMST) to fight terrorism and fundamentalism, and to protect the rights of Karachi‘s indigenous citizens.

The decision was announced Saturday by former speaker Sindh Assembly Hussain Haroon.
―Karachi was a peaceful city until the 1980s, after which governments changed it into a haven for terrorists, extremists and
drug dealers. Karachi should be allowed peaceful development, arms should be banned, and people living here for
centuries should be protected,‖ Haroon said.

Indigenous people in Karachi were deprived of their rights, terrorists harass them and power is used against them, he said.
―They have no legal rights in the city that has been their home for centuries. Old inhabitants of the city are being deprived of
their property, while people from abroad and other provinces are given ownership of it.‖
He said that coastal land was being sold at cheap rates to outsiders without the consensus of local residents. ―We will go to
court to stop this. Karachi was a city for fishermen and will remain one. The whole city is being sold in the name of
development,‖ Hussain said.

During World War II, the city government was given cantonment land from the Sindh board of revenue, under the condition
that it would be returned when the war ended. The land was lent to the army for six months, but was permanently occupied
by cantonments after 1947.

The British government had obtained land in Keamari and Manora from local Jokhya and Jams under a 100-year lease. It
constructed break water, East Wharf, Ghas Bandar and Native Jetty bridge, with the help of Kacchi Muslims of Keamari
and Manora.

―The KMST is a social movement of Karachi‘s indigenous citizens,‖ Hussain said. He demanded that Karachi be divided
into 8 districts, and that the defunct Karachi District Council be restored.
(Daily Times-B1, 08/07/2007)



                                           Up the creek without a paddle
As three-month-old Fazeela cries with hunger, her sister Maria has nothing to offer her but a feeder filled with filthy water.
Sitting on top of the hill along the Lyari River bed in Surjani Town, the seven-year-old girl has several urgent tasks in hand.
In the ruined Khair Muhammad Goth near Khuda Ki Basti, wiped out by the recent rains, little Maria not only takes care o f
her infant sister and looks after her ailing mother but also tries to salvage her family‘s belongings from inside the inundat ed
home her family abandoned after the rains.

Most importantly, she has to keep alive her hopes for the relief promised by the Gadap Town administration and Sindh
government after the June 30 rains displaced more than 300 inhabitants of this locality and other scattered Goths in Surjani
Town.

Living under the open sky for the last 10 days, Maria and the people of these Goths are uncertain about the promised relief
but are sure of one thing — more rains. ―After last week‘s rains Sindh minister Muhammad Hussain and other officials of
the town visited us and assured us of immediate resettlement at a safe place,‖ says Muhammad Ibrahim, a tailor by
profession, who lost his shed, which the poverty-hit people call home in this area.

Like Ibrahim, more than a hundred men leave the devastated Goth every day to convince the authorities to resettle their
families and provide them with two meals a day. The women, meanwhile, take refuge in a portion of the Jama Masjid
Saeeda, situated on the bank of the Lyari River bed. But life in the 12x12 foot room of the mosque, crowded with women,
children and infants, seems on the verge of spawning various epidemics.

Halima is unable to determine what ails three of her four children but suspects it is all due to the contaminated water they
are consuming. ―Ten days and nine nights on, we are still here in appalling conditions with no hope of returning,‖ she says
crouching outside the room so that her children can utilise a maximum amount of space in the congested place.

Given that hundreds of thousands of other homeless and hungry survivors of last month‘s floods in the interior of Sindh and
Balochistan are trapped in remote areas, where no relief has reached yet, Syed Bilal, Peshimam of Jama Masjid Saeeda,
considers the people of his neighbourhood among the fortunate. ―We have arranged one meal a day for each survivor on
our own, as we can‘t afford more than that,‖ he says. ―We have a list of more than 200 affected people, which has been
increasing with every passing day. But never mind. All these people deserve our help.‖

However, Bilal regrets the way the authorities responded to the disaster. They have o nly visited the area once since all hell
broke loose there. ―Some officials from the Sindh Board of Revenue visited this place and asked us to compile a list of the
displaced people but they never turned up after that,‖ he says.

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Inhabitants of Saigol Marri, Nek Muhammad and Kher Muhammad Goths are not alone in facing the misery. The sufferings
flowed with the water, wherever it found its way.

Mujeeb ur Rehman in Yousuf Goth feels the same pain. His computer institute, Ar-Rehman Academy, which aims to make
the Goth‘s children familiar with technology, was left in ruins after the calamity struck. ―Nineteen of our computers have
simply vanished,‖ he says. ―A stream of water almost four-feet deep flowed into the academy. There have been rains in the
past but we never faced such a situation. It was horrible but strange too.‖

Similarly, a couple of miles from Yousuf Goth, the rains brought tragedy to the poor inhabitants of Khuda Ki Basti. Fortunate
to be alive, a majority in this neighbourhood nevertheless lost everything they possessed. Perveen Khalid‘s Khana Ghar,
which once served meals to around 100 local people for as little as two rupees, has been reduced to rubble after the rains.
―The dining area of our eatery collapsed after the rains, and we estimate that it will cost us Rs 40,000 to repair,‖ she says.
Although she finds herself alone so far, she is not ready to give up. ―I cannot afford to continue in such conditions, so
people who have resources should come forward and join hands with me,‖ says Perveen.
(By Imran Ayub, The News-13, 09/07/2007)



                        Habitual invasions of Seaview drive residents up the wall
All those who are familiar with the city, will bear witness that on every Sunday, every national holiday, every rainy day and
every other day when anything out of the ordinary takes places, all and sundry head to main Seaview to enjoy themselves
and make residents of the area quite miserable.

On these days, as resident steps out of the walled security of their sectors, they find a very crowded main road, with
motorcyclists whizzing past every five minutes, performing various ill-advised stunts on their way. In addition to these
daring testosterone-high individuals, are those of comparatively mild dispositions, who come with their entire families in
Suzuki Pick-ups, trucks, buses and overburdened cars. They are nonetheless, equally determined to have their share of
fun and equally unwilling to miss this rare opportunity for recreation.

Bewildered residents are at a complete loss as to where they should go in the face of this invasion of their residential area.
Going out on their regular walks is out of question. The rowdy young visitors miss no opportunity to tease innocent women
out on their evening strolls. Furthermore, driving in and out of the area beco mes a real test of the nerves as cars,
motorcycles and buses crowd the roads. Even the service lane is congested with a line of cars parked on account of nearby
food joints and stores frequented by the happy mob.

While all these ëaliens‘ indulge in numero us festivities such as reckless driving, kite-flying, diving into the sea and dancing
along the roadside, harassed residents are cooped up inside their apartments, unable to step out of their homes for fear of
encountering this rowdy lot.

In the wee hours of the morning, the last of the visitors head back to wherever it is they came from, leaving behind an
already polluted beach, even more polluted than before. There is trash all over the place. The entire beach is covered with
wrappers that indicate the refusal of our people to undertake a small walk to the nearest bin screaming ëUSE ME‘. One
wonders why there is this inherent tendency in our people to shrink away from all that is defined as civilised and
responsible behaviour. Needless littering is but o ne glaring example of our complete lack of concern for our surroundings,
our city. It is most ironic when these very people who don‘t think twice before tossing an empty packet of chips on the road,
also make quite a display of their strange brand of patriotism by dancing to ëDil Dil Pakistan‘ and ëJazba Junoon‘ on main
Seaview, the very road they are polluting, on August 14. Of course residents of Seaview have to wear earplugs when to go
to bed on these nights.
(By Maria Kamal, The News-20, 09/07/2007)



                          Rise in sea level temperature not a good omen for city
The sea level temperature in the Arabian Sea is rising gradually as a result of global warming, threatening the costal areas
of Pakistan , including Karachi, according to experts.
―The sea level temperature of the Arabian Sea has risen between 0.2 Celsius to 0.8 Celsius over the last decade or so.
That is also contributing in the increase of extreme weather events in our coastal areas,‖ Dr Qamaruzzaman Chaudhry,
director general, Meteorological Department told The News on Monday.

He confirmed that the recent torrential rains and windstorm that wrecked havoc in Karachi besides the interior of Sindh and
Balochistan were linked to the phenomenon of global warming that threatens the entire planet‘s population, especially
those inhabiting low-lying areas.

―The tropical cyclones or monsoon depressions in the Arabian Sea were quite rare weather events but during the last 10
years or so the frequency of these extreme weather events has been on the rise. So, the scenario in the context of global
climate changes should include risk management of these natural hazards into our development activities,‖ he said.

He also suggested that it was high time to include risk management in our developmental outlays and build schools on
higher terrain to safeguard children from any eventuality. ―Normally, the coastal areas which are threatened by tropical
cyclones need to have cyclone shelters and schools not only need to be constructed on higher ground but should also be
strong enough to withstand tropical cyclones,‖ he added.

Global warming would also disrupt food security to millions of people because it paves the way for drought, disease and
cyclones. In fact, droughts are the first sign of global warming. ―Mountain glaciers are melting, along with ice at the poles.
The oceans are getting warmer and expanding. The result is that sea levels are rising. Among the predictions is that sea
levels will rise so fast in the next 50 years that some low-lying island nations may disappear altogether,‖ writes Paul Brown,
former environment correspondent for the Guardian newspaper in London in his remarkable book ―Global Warming: Can
Civilization Survive?‖ Furthermore, countries such as Pakistan, which mainly depend on irrigation, would be badly affected
by global warming, thereby making it difficult to feed their fast growing population.
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―Plants that cling on through heat and drought by special adaptations will suffer greater stress. Climate change will make
life tougher because even the small amounts of water available will evaporate more quickly, reducing the growing time
available. One of the problems of drier soils is erosion. This is made worse when people remove the natural vegetation to
make room for crops. Then, partly through the action of wind, as happened in the dust bowl in the United States in the
1930s, and partly by the rapid washing away of the topsoil when it does rain, the land can rapidly degrade, losing the fertil e
top layers of soil. Higher evaporation rates can also lead to more rapid salt and acid accumulations which badly affect
vegetation,‖ writes Paul Brown.

Pakistan is already suffering immensely due to salinity and land degradation and hundreds of thousands acres of fertile
land are becoming uncultivable. ―When the irrigation system was laid in this part of the globe, the drainage system which is
a pre-requisite for arid areas was not laid out. As a result, water logging and salinity invaded the entire country, including
Sindh and the Punjab.

Almost 37 per cent of the irrigated area of Sindh and 17 per cent of Punjab has become water logged and saline. These
areas have not only lost their soil fertility but the underground pockets of sweet water have also become brackish and
saline,‖ said Tahir Qureshi, director coastal ecosystem, the World Conservation Union based in Pakistan (IUCN -P).
―As a result of global warming, desertification has started in Pakistan and sandy tracks generated by moving sand dunes
are engulfing productive areas in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan,‖ he added.
(By Shahid Husain, The News-13, 10/07/2007)



                         Planting trees becomes an ordeal as departments clash
KARACHI: The inability of the City District Government Karachi‘s (CDGK) Parks and Horticulture (P&H) and Forest
departments to get along is preventing the plantation of trees in the city that are very necessary for a polluted city like
Karachi, the Daily Times learnt Monday.

The friction between these departments is preventing citizens from enjoying a healthy environment, as the P&H department
is not allowing the forest department to plant trees along roads and in open places.

Sources in the city government said that the city naib nazim, during the inauguration of Mission Greener Karachi on
September 13, 2006 at the City Council Secretariat (Old KMC Building), had vowed to move a resolution in the City Council
to protect existing trees and take bold steps in making Karachi green. ―The draft resolution was prepared about two months
ago and it will be moved at the City Council ... in the interest of Karachi,‖ Agriculture Committee Chairman Arif Bhatti told
Daily Times.

He also said that because of the recent budget, the May 12 incident and the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC)
issues during the last couple of months, other issues have not been given a chance in the council. The chairman also
mentioned that the first phase of Mission Greener Karachi - planting 50,000 plants in Gadap Town to develop a mini -forest
near Thado Dam and also hundreds of saplings on three major roads connecting to Super Highway, Yousuf Goth and
Konkar Goth, has been completed. ―In the second phase, we have started planting saplings along other main arteries in
Gadap Town. We have not been given permission to plant within the city,‖ he said.

Sources in the city government said that it was the P&H department‘s responsibility to plant trees on all the major roads
and streets in the city, but, the department, led by District Officer Liaquat Ali Khan, is not paying any attention. ―He [Liaquat]
has more important things to do than to protect citizens from the increasing ratio of air pollution by planting more trees. He
does, however, have time to chop down hundreds of trees in the name of development projects,‖ sources said. Sources
further added that the P&H department, during the last two months, has trimmed over 300 trees on the traffic island of
Shara-e-Faisal from Karsaz to the FTC Flyover to clear the way for the construction of the Karachi Elevated Expressway.

It is pertinent to mentioned that City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil had promised to plant more than 0.5 million trees in the city
during the first phase of the Mission Greener Karachi campaign, but, after 10 months have passed, less than 100,000
saplings have been planted and not a single tree has been planted within the limits of government-run schools, colleges,
playgrounds and other areas.
―She also claimed that computerized tree plantation records would be maintained and that trees given to private
organizations would be taken care of by those organizations. But, these programmes haven‘t been implemented,‖ sources
added.

P&H Department Liaquat Ali Khan District Officer denied these claims. ―We love trees more than anyone else. During the
last 20 months, the P&H department has planted around 10,000 trees in Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim, 3,500 in Beach Park, and
1,000 along the first signal free corridor that extends from Shara-e-Faisal to SITE Industrial Area,‖ he said. He added that
the plans to plant hundreds of trees along University Road once it‘s complete have also been chalked out.

Khan also claimed that the committee behind the Mission Greener Karachi campaign had no idea how to plant and take
care of a tree. ―The forest department lacks the resources and the experience to plant 0.5 million trees in the city,‖ he said.
He also challenged, and allowed, anyone to plant trees on the 28 main city arteries at their disposal. ―Handing over
hundreds of tree to be used by private organizations is not a big deal. The main thing is to care for a sapling, for at least
three years, until it becomes a tree by providing at least one gallon of water daily,‖ he said.
(By Jamil Khan, Daily Times-B1, 17/07/2007)



                                                Impacting development
Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 is the basic legislative tool in country to frame regulations for protection of the
environment along with development. Under section 12(1), for new development projects which are likely to cause adverse
environmental impacts, it is mandatory to file an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for review a nd approval prior to
project construction with the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (PEPA). This is applicable equally to both public and
private sector projects. The Federal Agency set up under the act has delegated its powers to the provincial Envi ronmental
Protection Agencies (EPAs) for its implementation.
                                                                6
According to lawyers and environmentalists it is one of the best pieces of legislation in Pakistan. However, ironically,
among the main hurdles in its implementation are the government agencies. The general view held in government's
planning and development departments about EIA is that it is anti-development. It inflates the project cost and makes it a
hindrance in achieving the targets of economic growth set by the state.

Ahmed Rafay Alam, an environment lawyer, thinks that most government departments are not aware of the legal
requirement. The result is that government departments, such as development authorities, support the projects without
checking for compliance with the EIA regulations. "EIA's use is limited to obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) and
hence issues concerning conservation of resources and protection of environment are not addressed properly," he says.

Rafay tells TNS that EIA is, in fact, a system for identifying and introducing measures to prevent environmentally adverse
impacts caused by development projects. "EIA is a policy and management tool for both planning and decision-making." He
thinks that EIA identifies, predicts, and evaluates the foreseeable environmental consequences of proposed development
projects, plans, and policies. "The outcome of an EIA study assists the decision maker and the general public to determine
whether a project should be implemented and in what form. EIA can be an effective instrument to achieve sustainable
development," says Rafay.

The concept of sustainable development was introduced at United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Principle 4 of the Rio Declaration, stated 'In order to achieve sustainable
development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be
considered in isolation from it.' Principle 17 stated that 'Environmental impact assessment, as a national instrument, shall
be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have significant adverse impacts on the environment and are subject
to a decision of a competent national authority.'

In Pakistan's context, environmental concerns in planning of development projects remains largely unbeknown to both
planners and constructors even after a decade of EIA's implementation in the country. Ronald deSouza ex-chairman
Shehri, Karachi tells TNS that situation is almost the same in all the provinces and the governme nt authorities are not ready
to assess environmental impacts of certain projects. "They have not conducted EIA for mega-projects like the Lyari
Expressway and Bandal island in Karachi," he says. He says according to WWF's Living Planet Report 2006 it is the
Sheikhs of Dubai who damaged the environment most in the recent years, while Karachi has been handed over to them for
'development' by our government. "We are not against development. We just say that it should be according to rules and
regulations formed by the government itself," says Ronald.

Mir Sajjad Hussain Talpur, deputy director EIA and Monitoring PEPA, admits while talking to TNS that private developers
and even some officials of different environment departments are not fully aware of environment problems. This is the
reason why some of them consider EIA anti-development.
"As the environment act was promulgated in provinces in 2000 so there is issue of capacity building in provincial EPAs," he
says. Monitoring of projects, according to Sajjad, is also not up to mark so far but the PEPA is helping EPAs to manage
their shortcomings. "We have given mobile monitoring vans to Punjab and Sindh EPAs to make them more vigilant," he
says.

Environment experts believe that there are large implementation gaps in both public as well as private-sector projects.
More often than not, the EIA is carried out merely as a formality and in order to obtain approval from the EPA. Hammad
Naqi, Director Fresh Water and Toxic Programme WWF, says that in most of the cas es private parties hire a consultant to
prepares report and submit it to EPA. "The department in most of the cases approves it as they do not have sufficient
expertise and workforce to review it according to rules and regulations," says Naqi.

Another major problem, according to Naqi, stems from the fact that monitoring and evaluation of the actual environmental
impacts of projects is not carried out. "The absence of proper monitoring and evaluation mechanism is now a major
handicap for effective environmental management, even in instances where a proper EIA has been carried out," he says.
According to him, in many of the projects, like cement factories in Chakwal, are not fulfilling the requirements they
submitted to EPA through EIA. But since there is no authority to hold them accountable, they go about business as usual.
He says being a government department EPA never raises any objection on public sector projects. "I think there should be
an independent EIA commission to review both public and private sector projects. We have already invoked the court in the
New Murree Project, and Canal Bank Widening Project and now we are planning with Shehri, an NGO of Karachi to appeal
in court against some of projects in Karachi that having adverse effect on environment."

Public hearing is a very important part of EIA because it allows the inclusion of views of those who are likely be affected
and those who are interested in the proposed developmental activity. "The key objectives of public involvement are to
obtain local and traditional knowledge that may be useful for decision-making; facilitate consideration of alternatives,
mitigation measures and tradeoffs; ensure that important impacts are not overlooked and benefits are maximised," says
Naqi. According to him, in most of the cases public hearing is not carried out because authorities know that they have no
answers of public queries.

Government officials admit that proper implementation and monitoring of all projects is not possible with the workforce and
expertise they have so far. "Saving environment is relatively new thing both for private and public sector as before 2000
they have no problem to carry out some project the way they want," says Maj (R) Shah Nawaz Badar, Secretary
Environment Protection Department Punjab. He says that it is a kind of propaganda that we do not care about EIA of public
sector projects. "There are many public sector projects, including Canal Bank Road Widening project, for which we have
not issued NOC so far on the basis of its impacts on environment," he says.
(By Aoun Sahi, The News-Political Economy, Page-IV, 22/07/2007)



                                    Council bans functions in public parks
KARACHI, July 30: The City Council on Monday adopted a resolution imposing a ban on holding of functions in public
parks run by the city government. However, the city council bar does not extend to official gatherings.
The resolution calling for the ban was moved by the treasury benches and adopted unanimously in a session held under
the chairmanship of Masood Mehmood, the senior presiding officer of the City Council.

                                                              7
The resolution stated that the ban would help ensure a better management of the public parks meant for recreation.

Leader of the opposition Al-Khidmat Group Rafiq Ahmed caused the treasury members to see red when he asked for a ban
on setting up of party offices in the public parks and pointed out that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had offices
established in several parks.

The governing Haq Parast Group, backed by the MQM, reacted angrily to the allegation and managed to shout down the
opposition member and his supporters.

Several treasury members leapt to their feet and made sarcastic remarks against the Al-Khidmat leader and former city
nazim Niamatullah Khan.

Refusing to be cowed down by such remarks, Mr Ahmed said no party or group should be allowed to use a public park for
its political activities.

Leader of the House Asif Siddiqui told the chair that the opposition leader was trying to politicise what was an absolutely
non-political matter. The chair intervened and expunged the ―offending remarks‖, advising members to maintain the
decorum of the house. The resolution was then put to the vote and unanimously adopted.

CJ reinstatement hailed
The opposition benches also moved a resolution and the treasury side supported it without much argument, perhaps to the
surprise of the movers.

The resolution welcomed the reinstatement of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and paid tribute to
the valiant struggle of the lawyers, political parties, media and other civil society organisations.
The presiding officer, however, did not allow the opposition to move a resolution on the Lal Masjid issue.

Earlier, when the house resumed its proceedings, Ms Rukhsana of the Awam Dost Group drew the chair‘s attention to the
deteriorating law and order situation in Lyari.
She said that the gravity of the situation could be gauged from the fact that the UC-6 Kalri-Shah Beg Lane Nazim, Abdul
Majid Baloch, could not leave his house to attend the session. Claiming that his life was in danger, she stated that Mr
Baloch had been receiving threats from the criminals who had been holding people hostage. She deplored that these
criminal elements had been given a freehand to terrorise and extort people, especially s hopkeepers, in the area.
Ms Rukhsana urged the house to take up the issue seriously, adding that the police had totally failed to maintain law and
order in the area.

Cash-strapped UC
The Nazim of UC-5 Mehmoodabad, Jamshed Town, Saeed Baghpati, told the ho use that the town administration had
stopped the secretary concerned from signing the UC‘s cheques as a result of which payments pertaining to utility bills,
councillors‘ honoraria, etc could not be made. This had rendered the UC non-functional for 120 days, he added.
He maintained that since a secretary was appointed by the provincial government, it seemed that he was not signing the
cheques under the instructions of the higher authorities.

The City Council also took up other issues, including lapse of opposition members‘ funds, by-laws for the poultry industry
and auctioning of stalls at the Zoological Garden.

Opposition obliged
Al-Khidmat members Rafique Ahmed, Abdul Rasheed Baig, Junaid Makati and Mohammad Islam demanded that members
be allowed sufficient time to study the draft by-laws on poultry business. They also demanded that a representative of the
City Council be added to the members of the auction committee to ensure transparency.

Treasury members Mohammad Asif Siddqui, Abdul Jalil, Sulman Baloch and others raised no objection to the demands
and the proposals were accepted by the treasury side.

Shamim Mumtaz took up the issue of the provincial education department‘s failure to achieve progress on the District
Evolved Education Board (DEEB), quoting reports that except for procuring 18 vehicles for Rs346 million provided by the
Asian Development Bank three years back, nothing had been done by the department which forced the ADB to wind up the
project.
The chair held out the assurance that a proper inquiry would be conducted into the matter.

Mohammad Islam criticised the Community Welfare Department‘s performance, indicating that not a single meeting was
convened by it over the past 18 months despite the requests having been made to the relevant committee‘s chairman,
Mohibuddin Fatmi.

Mr Fatmi maintained that he had received no such requests, and told the house that the board‘s meeting would be
convened soon. The council also condoled the death of former MNA Hasan Musanna, poet Hakim Mohammad Nasir and
councillor Kaniz Sughra Baji.
The house will now meet on Aug 4.
(By Latif Baloch, Dawn-17, 31/07/2007)



                              ‘Strategic Development Plan, not Master Plan’
Noted architect and town planner, Arif Hassan, has named the Master Plan 2020 as the ‗Strategic Development Plan,‘
saying that it is no more a master plan. He was addressing a seminar on Master Plan 2020 at the Urban Resource Centre
Thursday.

Talking about recent trends, Hasan said that very few cities in the world make master plans now. ―The reason is that some
cities change so fast that the plan does not match its wide spreading factor. The master plan then does not meet its

                                                            8
requirements.‖ Listing the weaknesses of the Karachi Master Plan 2020, he said that transport, traffic planning, and land
use had not been integrated. Moreover, the plan shows investment in an expensive light rail project which had already
been proved inappropriate for the city. Hassan said that the success of a plan depended on institutions. ―Here also, a
planning institution is needed which is autonomous and free from interference,‖ he said, adding that there was dire need for
research, consultation, accommodation and appropriate decisions by politicians. Implementation agencies should be made
accountable and transparent. ―Any project should be advertised before its execution and citizens should be given the
chance to participate,‖ he said. Management agencies are also needed that could work at a decentralised level and
coordination amongst all of the above was necessary.

―It is actually transport that gave shape to a city and determined its land use,‖ he said, adding that the government had
failed to persuade people to use public transport. According to Hassan, the plan has all the right principles of development
except the DHA Beachfront Development, the Sugar Land City, and the development of Bundal and Biddu Islands.
(The News-14, 31/08/2007)



                     City Council passes resolution banning ceremonies in parks
KARACHI: The City Council approved Monday six resolutions by a majority vote, including a ban on holding unofficial
ceremonies in parks within the city government‘s limits, and one on appreciation for the reinstatement of the chief justice o f
Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The session was held at the City Council Secretariat and was chaired by Senior Presiding Officer Masood Mehmood in the
absence of City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil.

Three resolutions were in condolence of the deaths of former MQM MNA Hassan Musanna Alvi, renowned poet Hakim
Muhammad Nasir and a labour councilor nominated to the Haq Parast seat from Shah Faisal Town. The sixth resolution
was to award the contract of operating beverage, ice-cream and other stalls within the city zoo‘s limits to a private firm.
―The city council has approved the ban on holding unofficial ceremonies so that proper maintenance can be carried out and
the maximum number of facilities can be provided to the area‘s residents,‖ the resolution moved by Rehan Saif of the
treasury benches stated.

The Al-Khidmat Group leader, Rafiq Ahmed, forwarded the resolution to laud the reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar
Muhammad Chaudhry. ―City Council Karachi also praises the efforts of lawyers, the media and the representatives of civil
society in launching a massive movement. And for hoping that, after the CJP is reinstated, the dream of a free judiciary and
the establishment of justice will come true and bring suitable solutions to all the issues faced by the nation,‖ the resoluti on
stated.

Earlier during the session, a member from the opposition benches, Shahjahan Bloch from Lyari Town, highlighted the
scarcity of sanitary workers in Lyari Town. ―Lyari Town has been facing a shortage of staff and the machinery needed to
carry out sanitation tasks. The city government‘s solid waste department has failed to meet the town‘s needs and provide
machinery,‖ he said.

Another member, Nasim Baloch from Quaidabad, pointed out the sanitation conditions and sewerage issues in his area
and asked the convener to take notice. He also highlighted the traffic problems caused by the slow work being done on the
Quiadabad flyover and mentioned that a resolution has been submitted on this issues and that he wishes to debate it. The
convener, Masood Mehmood, said that a committee has been formed to look after these matters and asked him to submit
the complaint in writing for further consideration.

Sheikh Mehboob-ur-Rehman appreciated the resolution banning ceremonies from being held in parks and said that the
resolution should also ban political parties from establishing offices in the vicinity of the parks.

Rafiq Ahmed praised the resolution and said that the different sector offices established by the MQM in various parks
should also be removed after approving this resolution. This comment annoyed the treasury bench members, who are
mostly MQM members, and caused a lot of them to stand up in protest.

Abdul Jalil of the treasury benches, on a point of order, said that members of the former city council established a lot of
offices which encroached on storm-water drains and now they are blaming the government of grabbing parks.
At this point the convener interrupted and asked members to vote on the resolution which was approved unanimously. He
also ordered to remove the remarks on the MQM from the proceedings which both benches agreed on.
Other members who debated different issues included Ismail Brohi, Imran Baghpati, Asif Siddiqui, Muhammad Islam,
Muhib-ud-Din Fatmi, Abdul Rashid Baig, Juman Darwan and Shamim Mumtaz Wasi. The session was adjourned to August
4 at 3:30 p.m.
(By Jamil Khan, Daily Times-B1, 31/07/2007)




AUGUST
                                                    Misuse of Parks
The resolution adopted by Karachi's city district council banning the holding of functions in public parks is a welcome
development. However, it would have been better if the ban extended to official and government functions as well.
Furthermore, the misuse of parks in the country's largest city is not limited only to unauthorized wedding functions. Many
have been encroached on by commercial establishments, madressahs, local police and in some cases political party
activists. Clearly the use of parks, meant for the general public, for private functions was an issue that needed to be
addressed. Not only was it improper in the sense that it allowed the use of a park, meant to be for all citizens, by a handful

                                                               9
of influential people, the functions themselves did great damage to the premises of the parks and generally disturbed the
neighbourhood peace. The litter for the function would often lie around for days and this would be i n addition to the damage
to the greenery and infrastructure which are financed by public funds. That is one reason (in addition to the fact that many
have encroached upon) why so many parks in Karachi are already in a shambles. However, now that the resolution has
been passed, it is imperative that the authorities implement it and respect it. Furthermore, as said earlier, it would be a v ery
good idea if the ban was extended to official functions as well because that is often the level at which the violations occur.

One cannot overemphasize the importance of having an adequate number of well-maintained public parks in a city like
Karachi, since other avenues to entertainment and leisure are generally not available or are frowned upon by an
increasingly conservative society. Parks are good because they provide public space for healthy activities such as walking,
running and exercising. They also allow all members of a family equal access and can be a good place where the whole
family can go and have an outing. Furthermore, they encourage children and adolescents -- or adults for that matter -- to
learn and/or play a new sport and this is something that the human body needs for healthy and balanced development.
Parks also bring nature closer to people and this is sorely needed for residents of what is basically becoming a concrete
jungle.
(The News-7, 01/08/2007)



                                River Valley Park: a dream that may come true
The Parks and Horticulture Department of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) is likely to undertake a project at
the coast of Malir River. This project has been named ‗River Valley Park‘.

The Executive Director of the department, Liaqat Ali said that he has prepared the plan and design of the park after a
detailed survey of the site and claims that once built, this will be the biggest park in the world.
It will stretch from Hino Chowk to Quaidabad, covering an area of 4,432 acres of land. ―Due to its location in the city centre,
the recreational area will facilitate around eight million residents from nine towns in the city,‖ claimed Ali.
He told The News that he first came up with this idea around five years ago and has been working on it ever since. ―The
proposal for this project has been well liked by the Governor Sindh and the City Nazim,‖ he said.

Moreover, 0.5 million trees will be planted all over the park. These along with the four city forests will not only make the
area green but will also help stabilise the temperature.

Ali also exclaimed that the existing parks are not sufficient to cater to the dense population of Karachi. In order to meet the
deficiency, the department has found a place that will serve as a recreation spot for millions of people at a time.
Additionally, a sizeable number of people will annually benefit from this project.
―With its completion, the absence of open spaces will be met to a great extent. Above all, this will enable citizens to get rid
of criminals, land mafia and anti-social elements that would otherwise have grabbed this land,‖ said Ali.
He also revealed that the park will have a water flow channel of 150 feet with 50 feet-wide roads on either side. There will
also be 24 parking zones, 12 bridges to cross the river and service areas at 24 points.

A number of gardens, including Palm, Jasmine, Rose, Japanese, Bougainvillea and Mughal Gardens will be created to
make the park environment friendly and beautiful.
Besides gardens and green areas, the park will provide numerous grounds and huge spaces for the purpose of playing
sports and will, hence, cater to the needs of the city‘s youth, he added. Fifteen cricket grounds will be built here in
accordance with international standards in order to ―help in hosting major national and international cricketing events,‖ he
added.

Ten hockey fields will be prepared to restore the country‘s national game that has unfortunately been in decline over the
years, he said. ―Football is another sport that is very popular among the masses but non-availability of appropriate facilities
has diminished its charm. Thus, we have proposed that 10 football grounds equipped with international level infrastructure
be built here,‖ disclosed Ali.

Moreover, he said that in order to boost athletic activities, basket ball, tennis, volleyball and badminton courts will be
established. He also mentioned various other attractions such as a golf course, horse riding area, skating arena and polo
ground.

Ali also disclosed that in order to entertain visitors, kite and pigeon competitions will be held on a regular basis. Motorcy cle
and car racing, enriched by modern facilities will welcome the enthusiasts of this sport at the park. It has also been
proposed that there will be a runway for the purpose of flying remote controlled aeroplanes and helicopters. Furthermore,
five open-air theatres will be established here to promote the neglected art. He also said that the construction of 12 family
and eight child play areas has also been proposed.

Another major feature is the monorail that will not only be a source of transport for commuting within the 17.5 -km-long park
but will also give visitors an opportunity to enjoy rides all along the view of the park. ―It will not be possible for visito rs to
explore such a huge park in one day. Hence, the park administration has proposed building an elevated rail system which
will serve a dual purpose,‖ said Ali.
(By Aisha Masood, The News-19, 10/08/2007)



                                                   Jheel Park: a dream
IT was truly shocking to read about the construction of parking plazas in the Jheel Park. I had grown up in a part of Karachi
that only had buildings and no parks within walking distance. As such, it was always a treat to find an opportunity get away
from the concrete eyesore surrounding me to a refuge where I could be close to nature.

A trip to the Jheel Park used to be like a dreamtrue because I love lakes and greenery. If one drove or walked up from
Tariq Road / Allama lqbal Road crossing, it would remain invisible till almost the end due to being below ground level and
would suddenly appear magically like a wonderland at the last moment.
                                                               10
The anguish can, therefore, be easily understood at the prospect of losing this stuff of my dreams. I would urge the
authorities concerned to not only end the nightmare of nature lovers by sparing this once beautiful park but also restore it to
its earlier beauty as soon as possible.

The wise people have always attached immense importance to parks and gardens, as will be seen from the following
examples. Sir Francis Bacon had said: "God Almighty first planted a garden, and, indeed, it is the purest of human
pleasures," while Dorothy Gurney wrote: "One is nearer God's Heart in a garden/ Than anywhere else on earth."

Besides, psychologists believe that the presence of green spaces in cities helps soothe the residents' nerves. In this era of
skyrocketing tensions and violence, we need more parks, not fewer.
K. NAQSHBANDI, Karachi
(Dawn-6, 13/08/2007)



                                            Thirsty in the midst of water
Seawater cannot quench the thirst of those who live by the seashore near Hawkes Bay. Hence, over 95,000 inhabitants of
104 such villages have been without drinking water for a considerable amount of time. They are discontented with the
performance of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) which, despite assurances, has yet to undertake a water
supply scheme for these communities. Local activists recall decisions made by the government to lay water supply lines in
three main villages as far back as 1984 through the defunct district council, Karachi. However, not a single drop of water
has been supplied through the said pipelines.

Similarly, the CDGK promised to give 150,000 gallons of water to Union Council (UC) Gabopat on a weekly basis but area
residents claim that they have not been receiving more than 2000, gallons of water each week.

Residents profess that although the CDGK, comprising 18 towns, claims to represent inhabitants of the urban and
suburban areas equally, they, who live by the coast and suffer hardships resulting from inefficiencies in the system, feel
otherwise.

Khuda Ganj Shad, an area activist said, ―The CDGK spent Rs4.5 million on the Mubarak Dam project in order to supply
water to nearby villages. This project was washed away during the monsoons two years ago and the authorities seem to be
reluctant to spend further on its reconstruction.‖

Some of the coastal villages have traditional water reservoirs to store water during the rainy season for their animals and
domestic use as well. Unfortunately, in the absence of rain, people are unable to store water in this way.
―Women of Abdullah Village travel three kilometres daily to fetch water for domestic use from water tanks in the Chhatara
Village. The people of Jumma Goth face similar problems,‖ he added.

The people of Haji Safar and Siddique villages have to wait one month for their turn to receive water through UC-run water
tankers.

It is an age-old tradition that the men go out to the open sea in pursuit of fish and stay there for a week. Meanwhile, the
women deal with all family matters including arranging for water, fuel and rations. They also decide upon the marriages of
their children. Hence, it is these women who bear the brunt of water shortages and inconveniences.

Although various villages near Hawkes Bay lack facilities such as electricity, gas and roads, dearth of water is said to be
their greatest concern.

Moreover, UC Gabopat, representing 104 villages, has two water tankers for a population of 95,000. In addition to this,
there are community water tanks in the main villages and the UC water tankers fill them once a week. Women belonging to
the same tribes use this water equally. However, activists say that UC-run water tankers are not enough to meet their
needs and residents have no choice but to buy water through private water tankers costing Rs1200 to Rs1500 each.

Achhar Bhand of Deh Allah Banu said that prior to the local government system the defunct district council used to supply
water to rural areas and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board supplied water only to the urban areas. He asserted that
now the people of suburban areas should enjoy similar facilities without any discrimination.

Furthermore, Saeed Baloch, general secretary, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum allegedly said that 14 warehouses at the main
Hawkes Bay road have illegal connections with water supply lines of Deh Lal Bakhr, (a major village in the neighbourhood).
He added that these fishermen cannot spare time to visit offices in order to get water, and complain about the theft of
water. These are the people, whose forefathers took an active part in the construction of this metropolitan city. It is a pity
that they are being denied a basic human right, he added.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-20, 16/08/2007)



                              SHC stays commercialization of Lines Area Park
Sindh High Court has ordered status quo in a petition against the proposed commercialisation of a playground in Lines
Area and issued notices to City District Government Karachi, General Secretary Army Welfare Trust and others for August
28.

Petitioner Mehfoozun Nabi Khan, a former Union Council Nazim, submitted that Army Welfare Trust and M/s Macro Habib
have forcibly occupied the playfield commonly known as ―Web Playground‖, situated in UC-8 Jamshed Town, with the
support of other respondents and started construction work, deliberately converting the amenity plot into a commercial
complex.

His counsel Mairajuddin Ansari said that due to the act of the respondents the area people, including students and children,

                                                             11
were being deprived of healthy environment. The court was prayed to declare that the said playground could not be
converted into a commercial complex and direct the private respondents to vacate the playground without any delay.

SHC‘s division bench ordered status quo on the plot in question and issued notices to Advocate General Sindh, CDGK and
other respondents for August 28.

death sentence awarded: The Anti Terrorism Court (ATC), on Friday handed down death sentence to an accused person
finding him guilty of killing a three-year old girl after assaulting her in February last year.

Announcing the judgment, the ATC headed by Judge Ghulam Ali A Samtio, observed that the prosecution proved its case
against Mohammad Saleem who was found guilty of raping a minor girl and later killing her. The court also levied
Rs500,000 as fine on the accused and in case he default, he would have to suffer a further six month imprisonment. The
court also sentenced the accused to 10 years in prison for raping a minor and imposed a fine of Rs100,000. The convict
was directed to pay Rs500,000 to the father of the victim as compensation.
(The News-14, 25/08/2007)




SEPTEMBER
                                    Building park on commercial land case
KARACHI: Contempt-of-court notices were issued to the EDO, KDA Wing of CDGK and other officials for Sept 19 Friday by
a division bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) comprising Justic e Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Muhammad Athar
Saeed in a case of constructing a park on commercial land instead of making a 100-foot wide road as per the original KDA
plan.

Muhammad Siddique and seven others residents of Sector 41-A, T Area Korangi moved the court, contending that the
CDGK‘s relevant officials are willfully avoiding implementation of the orders passed in a constitutional petition filed by th em
in 2004.

They maintained that they applied for additional land adjacent to their houses but t heir request was not entertained for one
reason or the other and now it was being converted into a park and commercial units.
They said that the court has ordered a 100-foot wide road on the land in question but these orders were neglected and now
due to development work their entrances are being blocked. The bench, after hearing the counsel for applicants/petitioners,
issued contempt-of-court notices to the respondents/alleged contemnors for Sept 19.
(DailyTimes-B1, 01/09/2007)


                                 Parking to be charged at Beach Park Clifton
KARACHI: Charged parking for Beach Park Clifton, additional funds for nine hospitals and the conversion of more
commercial land were some of the resolutions that made it through Tuesday at the City Council session.
In a heated session boycotted twice by the Opposition, Treasury members in the City Council rejected a resolution for a
judicial inquiry by the Supreme Court into the Northern Bypass bridge collapse.

The session was chaired by City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil at City Council Sec retariat. The House approved eight
resolutions - six in the absence of Opposition members who left the floor of the House in protest. Only one resolution to
condemn the bomb explosions in Rawalpindi was unanimously approved by both sides. The resolution was presented by
Ahsan Siddiqi of the Treasury benches and seconded by Abdul Razzaq and other Opposition members. ―Today‘s session
of the City Council demands stern action against the culprits and harsh sentences,‖ it said.

The House was divided, however, o n a resolution tabled by Treasury bench member Naseem Akhter to appreciate the
rescue operation conducted by the city nazim and to demand the federal government hand over control of the entire city to
his office instead of allowing it to be run by 13 different agencies.

Saeed Ghani, Opposition leader in the House, said that they had submitted an amendment to include the names of the
Lyari and Malir development authorities in addition to the 13 other agencies. This was rejected by the Treasury bench
members, provoking the Opposition to walk out as a token protest.

The other resolutions included the ―unanimous‖ approval of the auction to a firm to collect charged parking fees at Beach
Park Clifton as Opposition members were not in the House. The auction was held on July 16 and was won by Faizan
Communication with the highest bid of Rs 23 million.
The City Council also unanimously approved a resolution to increase and issue the grant as an empress account for the
hospitals run by the city government. ―The medical superintendents of nine hospitals have been given the authority to use
their empress accounts as approved by the City Council.‖ The hospitals include Rafiqi Shaheed Hospital (Rs 15,000),
Sobhraj Maternity Hospital (Rs 15,000), Spencer‘s Eye Hospital (Rs 15,000), Leprosy Hospital (Rs 10,000), Gazdarabad
Maternity Home and General Hospital (Rs 10,000), Employees‘ Clinic (Rs 10,000), Gizri Maternity Home (Rs 10,000),
Homeopathic Hospital (Rs 5000) and Primary Healthcare Center Lyari (Rs 5000).

They also approved three other resolutions to declare commercial, land including the extension of Shaheed-e-Millat Road
from Haider Ali Road to Shah Sultan Ahmed Road and plots on both sides of Jamaluddin Afghani Road from PTV Station
to Plot No. 1 off Shaheed-e-Millat Road. Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan from Abdullah College roundabout to Qalandria Chowrangi
has also been declared commercial land, and commenting on this, Syed Absarul Hassan said that the city government will
now earn Rs 870 million in revenue from taxes on dozens of commercial establishments. ―A large number of auto-mechanic
workshops, general stores, beauty parlors and other business are being set up by businessmen without paying a single
penny to the local government,‖ he said.

                                                              12
Earlier, when the session started, members from the Opposition benches pointed out what they referred to as the partial
attitude of the police to fail to maintain law and order in the city. ―The police officials not only failed to control the increasing
number of street crimes but are also supporting criminals to sabotage law and order. The House should pass a resolution
to condemn the police‘s negligence,‖ said Zulfiqar Ahmed, Nazim UC 7 Shah Faisal Town.

In a ruling, Jalil said the House will be allowed to debate this issue after she complete her inquiry on the cases reported by
the Opposition members.

Another resolution asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan to form a committee and conduct an inquiry into the Northern
Bypass collapse but it was rejected by the Treasury by a majority. On the comments of Muhammad Yaqub from the
Opposition to clear Karachi from every type of weapon, some treasury members left their seats in rage. Imran Ahmed from
the Treasury said that these comments showed that Karachi is the only city in the Pakistan which needs an operation to
remove weapons while the rest of the country should be included.

On the discussion of a resolution tabled by the Treasury to hand over the entire city‘s control to the city nazim‘s authority ,
the Opposition continued its demand to incorporate its amendment but it was refused.
―It is my privilege to make an inquiry and clear the confusion created by the Opposition members to incorporate the names
of the LDA and MDA besides the 13 agencies with the city‘s control,‖ Jalil said. T his aggravated the Opposition that left the
House to only return 10 minutes later.

On a point of order, Saeed Ghani repeated his point to clarify the letter issued by City Nazim Mustafa Kamal binding all UC
nazims to divulging their uplift schemes to their respective town nazims. ―This is an obvious gesture that the city nazim is
interfering in the administration of the union council. We are ready to cooperate with the government to eliminate corruption
but during the last couple of months, it was the Haq Parast Group that obtained resignations from its town and UC nazims
after they were found involved in corruption,‖ he said.

These remarks led to pandemonium among the Treasury members and spilled into the Opposition benches. Amid this
confusion, the convenor did not allow any comment from Opposition members who left the House in protest.
In the absence of Opposition members, the House hurriedly approved six resolutions included those on the agenda that
were pending for the last couple of weeks.
(DailyTimes-B1, 05/09/2007)


                                 Call to make waterfront project details public
KARACHI, Sept 7: A coalition of 16 civil society organizations, Dharti, has asked the government to make public the details
of Waterfront Development Project before initiating any work on the project.

The coalition representatives noted that the government had started the process of soliciting an expression of interest for
the project, showing total disregard for environment laws, despite public outcry against the project.
The demand was put forward at the launch of Dharti at a press briefing organized here in Sachal Hall, Ibrahim Hyderi, on
Friday. The coalition has been formed to address the threats posed by human activity to the environment and aims to take
up controversial development projects by educating and mobilizing people and seeking redress through the court of law.

Member organizations of Dharti are: Baahn Beli-A Friend Forever, Shehri-Citizens for a Better Environment, Human Rights
Commission of Pakistan, Strengthening Participatory Organization, Shirkatgah-Women Resource Centre, World Wildlife
Fund for Nature-Pakistan, Women Action Forum, Pakistan Maheegir Tehrik, Sahil Bachao, The Helpline Trust, Indus Earth,
Institute of Architects of Pakistan-IAP, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Karachi Women‘s Peace
Committee, The Pakistan Women Foundation for Peace, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum.

Nargis Rehman of the KWPC and Ghulam Qadir Shah of the WWF are the chairpersons.

Pointing out the coalition‘s objectives, former federal minister Javed Jabbar said that Dharti would tackle the environmental
issues concerning coastal, urban and rural areas. The alliance, he said, was in favour of development as long as it was in
harmony with nature.

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum chief Mohammad Ali Shah said the approach of benefiting the few and depriving the masses of
even their fundamental rights was not good for the solidarity of the country. Instead of launching pro -elite projects, he said,
the government should focus on provision of basic facilities to the masses.

―We need safe, clean drinking water, improved sewerage and drainage system for the city rather than costly projects like
Diamond Bar Island City,‖ he said, adding that this would be disastrous for the fishing communities which had been using
Buddo and Bundal islands as an important staging post for long. Besides, it would affect the ecology of the area as
mangroves that serve nurseries for fish and shrimps would be destroyed. ―These islands are also part of the Indus delta
which is a Ramsar site,‖ he remarked.

EIA mandatory
Nasir Panhwar of the International Union of Conservation of Nature said the government had not carried out any
environmental impact assessment studies of the coastal development projects, including Diamond Bar Island City, Sugar
Land City and Waterfront Development Project, which was mandatory under the law.

It was pointed out that the site of the waterfront project had already been identified by foreign experts as the wetlands of
international importance, located around Hawkesbay and Sandspit beaches – one of the rare nesting grounds for the
endangered green turtles in the world and home to many bird species.

The speakers apprehended that the project would destroy the habitat while restricting public access to the Karachi coast.
Earlier, journalists were taken round Buddo and Bundal, under the control of a Dubai-based construction firm, Emaar, these
days. It was noted that fishermen were no more allowed to use the area as a staging post.
(Dawn-18, 08/09/2007)


                                                                13
                                    Coalition formed to protect coastal belt
To save the coastal belt of the city, like-minded people from various civil society organisations have formed a coalition,
‗Dharti‘.

Dharti will accelerate the campaign to stop all such development at the coastline of the city. In a press briefing held at the
office of Pakistan Fisher folk Forum (PFF) at Ibrahim Hyderi, a number of members of Dharti spoke about the objectives
and reasons behind the formation of the coalition.

Speaking on the occasion, Javed Jabbar of Banh Beli said that Dharti was all about pro-development. ―It is usually believed
that such coalition forces are against development.
We favour and support all such development which is meant for pro-human development‖ he explained. As per its defined
role, Dharti would be active in coastal area issues, urban issues like migration to urban areas from the rural and issues of
the rural areas.

―The disputed islands of Bundal and Buddu may soon be taken over by a Dubai based company which plans to call it
‗Diamond Bar Island City‘. Similarly, the Waterfront project is also underway which involves similar development on the
coastline from Hawkesbay to Sandspit.‖

Naila Ahmad, a member of Shehri and now also of Dharti, said that the public was alre ady restricted to a certain area
around the coast and after these projects, their access would be further limited. ―The Hawkesbay and Sandspit beaches
serve as an important nesting harbour to green turtles and it stretches up to five kilometres along the b each.‖

Chairperson Pakistan Fisher folk Forum (PFF) Muhammad Ali Shah said that projects like Sugarland City and Diamond Bar
City were a ‗disaster‘.
(The News-14, 08/09/2007)


                                             Beach for sale — what next?
IN the present scenario of the so-called democracy our leaders through privatisation and otherwise have sold off some
lucrative establishments like banks, mills, lands and God alone knows what else. This has been done on the pretext of
paying off the foreign loans.

All that bragging of not carrying the ‗katora‘ anymore now appears to be a whitewash to hoodwink the masses as our
foreign debt has only been increasing all the time.

Now what about repayment of the huge loans borrowed from the local banks. I suppose we have to forget about it for the
moment or, as the saying goes, this matter has been kept in the deep-freezer. The election is drawing nearer and nearer
and lots of work have to be done to impress the voters, hence money has been required all the time.

By now our Pakistan State Oil and Pakistan Steel Mills, two of the robust earning entities, would also have been sold but for
the timely notice by the judiciary. And now it is not over yet as plans are to sell PIA and more especially the Roosevelt Hotel
of PIA situated in the heart of New York.

Newspaper reports indicate that efforts are at hand to sell this prime property at around half or even less than half the price.
Luckily this matter has also been kept in abeyance.

The general public realises all this depreciation in value and also underst ands all this depredations but all these acts, or
shall we say unnatural acts, are well conceived and carried out by the more affluent people.
The less affluent are worried about their wages so as to provide three meals to their families. Here again they are
hampered by strikes, curfew, bomb blasts, etc. Some of them seek solace in relaxation, recreation and outing to the parks
and the beaches. It seems that these simple enjoyments for the people are also going to be denied soon.

See ‗Expression of Interest‘ (Aug 14). As an Independence anniversary ‗gift‘, the Sindh planning and development
department has invited investors and developers to develop the land around the Hawkesbay area. This has been only one
of the two beaches where people normally flock on holidays for relaxation and fresh air, the other being Seaview.

The intentions may be good but has anyone taken into consideration that once the beach area is developed with luxury
housing, commercial premises and waterfront, then it would be beyond the means of the poorer classes to venture there?
And what about the fishermen community who have lived there and earn their livelihood for decades? Besides, has anyone
taken into consideration that Karachi is one of the best known grounds for turtles grooming a nd laying their eggs which is of
immense interest to not only our own people from all over the country but also of foreign visitors?

We also have an organisation to save the turtles. If we cannot provide relief to the masses, then at least save the turtles.
Perhaps the judiciary can take suo motu notice of this matter in the public interest and save this recreation spot.

KARAMALLY, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 09/09/2007)


                                     Commercial use of beach land okayed
KARACHI, Sept 10: Amid confusion over a quorum in the City Council on Monday, the house adopted a resolution about
the change of land use in the Clifton beach area. The resolution gives approval to commercial use through joint venture for
construction of a five-star hotel on a piece of land measuring 2.5 acres near Clifton beach in Block 2, Scheme 5.

When the resolution was put to the vote by the convener, some opposition members pointed out to the chair that the house
could not conduct its business because the required number of members were not present.

                                                              14
When Convener Nasreen Jalil asked for a count, she was told that there were 140 members, but the opposition contested
this figure and staged a walkout.
In the absence of the opposition, the house passed the resolution unanimously which was termed by the opposition
members illegal.

At the outset of the proceedings, Leader of the Opposition in the City Council Saeed Ghani drew the attention of the
convener to his previous resolution about the demolition of a minority graveyard and a delay in release of the union
councils‘ funds.

Upon this, treasury leader Masood Mehmood argued that there was no justification for passing any resolution on the issue
as the city nazim had already issued directives to provide basic facilities to the graveyard, adding that a boundary wall of
the graveyard was also being built.

Abdul Razak of Al-Khidmat Group said the traffic problem in the city was yet to be solved despite the fact that Ramazan
was approaching and no solution was in sight.

When the convener asked the UC nazim whether he was playing any role in this regard, he said the UC nazims were not
given traffic control powers. He was joined by Awam Dost member Dilawar Khan, who complained that except signing birth
and death certificate forms, the UC nazims had no powers. Mr Khan said if the UC nazims had been delegated powers,
they would have solved a lot of people‘s problems.

On a point of order, Awam Dost member Juman Darwan claimed that the 2020 master plan of Karachi had completely
ignored the rural areas of the city, adding that the proposed plan did not cover the coastal areas of Keamari, Gadap and
Bin Qasim towns. He said it was total injustice to the people of these old localities, adding that the house should take the
issue of 3,000 old villages seriously.
He said the issue should not only be discussed at the UC level, but it should also be addressed at the town, district and
provincial levels.
(By Latif Baloch, Dawn-17, 11/09/2007)


                           Revival of Terrace Garden brings delight to citizens
The ―Terrace Garden‖ in the Old Clifton area has now returned in a novel form for millions of Karachiites who had built
sweet memories at the place. The garden that was left in despair for several years has now been revived with the help of
the private sector. Governor Sindh, Dr. Ishratul Ebad will inaugurate it on Wednesday (today) evening.

Located in the historical vicinity of Old Clifton, the garden is spread over an area of 85,000sq ft and can be distinguished
from the other recreational areas in the city due to its division in various height levels.

If explored historically, the garden brings a significant status because of the eminent societies that had been settled in the
surroundings and also of the historical figures - including the Quaid-e-Azam — who used to visit the place frequently and
had spent valuable time over there.

The unique stature of the place had allowed the visitors to take the view of the sand dunes following the beautiful sea from
extensive heights. There‘s an old church on the right side and a mosque on the left while the well-known Mohatta Palace
leads the way to its entrance.

Old residents of the city say that the place was extraordinary in the 70s, when there was no construction and one used to
enjoy the original sight that either showed dunes of sand or the beautiful sea. Many recall it as ‗Nazarah-gah‘ or ‗Hawa
Bandar.‘ However, a small restaurant used to exist on the hilltop offering tea, coffee and ice cream. The restaurant is still
there, now present within the boundary of the new garden.

Despite the fact that mostly affluent families had resided in the vicinity, nobody had come forward to stop the gradually
emerging encroachment and develop this place, say government officials. The Grand Leisure Corporation (GLC) that was
given the restaurant on lease at that time has now developed the garden, the foundation of which was laid by the governor
two years ago.

The developers and the architects of the Terrace Garden believe that it‘s an ideal location for public to come and relax for
long hours. They have entitled it as the symbol of Pakistan.
According to the initial design that was made in 1994, the park was five times bigger than what has been renewed now,‖
disclosed the Chief Executive of the GLC, Imran Husain while speaking to The News.
He said that the encroachment that has come up to the terraces has left lesser space for the garden. ―We had to protect
this place from being further encroached upon,‖ said Husain who revealed that the encroachers tried to grab the area even
after the construction had started.

Besides the aesthetic features, the garden holds a beautiful fountain that would change its colours. ―The evolving colours of
the fountain would denote the diversities of Pakistani society,‖ said Husain. He said that the names of eminent people - who
use to visit the place — will be highlighted in the garden.

Explaining the concept on which Terrace Garden has been developed, its Architect, Sabih-ul Haq said that it‘s like an
‗Afghan carpet‘ that comprises different colours, patterns and proportions. It‘s a blend of old and modern concepts, he said.

Many old citizens also recall that the place was quite famous amongst couples for its romantic environment and that is one
reason many a times, it was loaded with lovebirds. However, sizeable number of public used to visit the place on
weekends.

Apart from its revival after decades, the developers of this wonder regret that they couldn‘t restore the original view of the
place. ―Unfortunately, the encroachments (that have now turned into Neelam and Larkana colonies) that have emerged on
the hills have blocked the sea sight,‖ maintained Husain.


                                                             15
The revival of Terrace Garden has come as great news for many who hunt for the peaceful and natural environments in the
metropolis. However, many old citizens who couldn‘t forget the original state of the place still suggest that the government
should remove the encroachment from the entire periphery to revive the old site completely.
(By Aisha Masood, The News-20, 12/09/2007)


                                            Water project in Potohar
                                       Many families to face displacement
ISLAMABAD, Sept 16: Hundreds of families in four districts of Potohar are feared to be displaced or deprived of their
livelihoods by the proposed Barani integrated water resource sector project, sources in the Punjab irrigation and power
department told Dawn.

The provincial government has made a request to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund the project to be
implemented in Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal districts.
The project envisages the construction of a number of medium-sized dams, water reservoirs and watersheds as well as
some drinking water supply schemes.

The would-be managers of the project have devised a midway between the ADB resettlement and rehabilitation rules that
are steeped in international best practices and the government of Pakistan‘s policy having its foundation in the colonial
era‘s land acquisition system, which badly affects properties and livelihoods coming in the way of development projects
with meagre or no compensation money.

An environmental effect assessment study carried out by the Punjab government shows that hundreds of households in
different parts of the four districts would either be displaced or deprived of their livelihoods. They would need resettlemen t
and rehabilitation at a considerable level.

Agriculture and livestock have been the traditional sources of revenue for the people living in Barani areas, and account for
40 per cent of their income in Punjab. With the increasing fragmentation of landholdings and little progress in improving
agricultural productivity, a major portion of the population has moved to the off -farm sectors in big cities or abroad for
livelihood opportunities.

Remittances sent by these migrants have become the second most important contrib ution to Barani household earnings
and play a key role in supplementing agricultural incomes to sustain the local economy. Although, migration may appear as
a suitable and necessary strategy for some of the excess labour force, Barani areas still remain ho me to many people.
Improvement of their income, especially for a large majority of small landholders and tenants, will depend to a large extent
on gains from agricultural and livestock productivity and growth in the local non-farm sector.

The project would also require the acquisition of some agricultural land at a number of places where people are likely to be
displaced, an official at the irrigation department said. He said the project would also have many positive impacts as it
would provide irrigation water security to the drought-prone area with no or very few secured water sources.

But still rehabilitation of the affected people would emerge as a challenge for the government. He said litigations by the
affected people were also expected. Valuation of the land to be acquired would also be an issue, as the owners would not
accept the official rate which was not even half of the market price.

There are 15 to 20 sub-projects in the BIWRSP covering an area of 1,000 to 2,000 square kilometers representing about 10
percent of the total Barani area of Potohar.

According to the Punjab government‘s environment assessment study, catchment areas in Potohar are mainly rain-fed
agricultural lands interspersed with Barren tracts, rangelands and some forests or plantations. Watershed conservation
measures are anticipated to have environmental benefits and so watershed development activities are not anticipated to
have any significant environmental impacts. Covering a large number of watersheds would put a large area under more
sustainable land use and natural resource management.

The study says small dam reservoirs do create different habitats and will affect the microclimate, generally attracting more
species and will be positive in terms of landscape value and biodiversity. Loss of assets and resources in the impoundment
areas will be local and will be addressed in the individual land acquisition and resettlement procedures for the sub-projects.
(By Sher Baz Khan, Dawn-2, 17/09/2007)



                                 City’s biggest park to start paying for itself
KARACHI: The 130-acre Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Clifton is currently not a source of revenue for the City District Government
Karachi (CDGK), which is responsible for the park‘s maintenance and security. Entry to the park is free, and there are no
food stalls etc. within its premises.

―The CDGK maintains all expenditure for the park out of its own budget,‖ said Saddar Town Parks chairman and naib
nazim UC-10 Saddar Town Imran Mirza. When it was pointed out that the CDGK‘s budget books for 2007-08 do not list the
park under ―expenditures‖, Mirza said that EDO Parks and Horticulture Liaquat Ali Khan would be a better source for more
information.

The CDGK was responsible for the park‘s maintenance after the four-month Rs 6.5 million contract awarded to a private
firm expired in June 2007. The CDGK is also responsible for the park‘s security and according to Mirza, a contract had
already been awarded to a private security firm.

―Right now, revenue generated from the [nearby] Beach Park is used for the maintenance of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim,‖ Khan told
Daily Times. ―Annually, we require Rs 30 million for the upkeep of both these parks and that is approximately how much we


                                                             16
generate from Beach Park.‖ He said that initially, they had decided on an entry ticket for the park that would cost Rs 10 but
entry was made free after the governor and city nazim said that the park should be a gift to Karachi‘s people.

In the meantime, a self-sufficient revenue generation system is in the works for Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim too. ―We‘ve planned a
food court to be constructed within the park and money earned from there will be used for maintenance. The food court will
start functioning within the next three to four months,‖ the EDO said.

Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim is said to be the country‘s biggest park. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 600 million, and was
inaugurated by President General Pervez Musharraf in February 2007. Apart from other highlights such as a horticultural
zoo, the park also contains a massive aquarium, which is currently under construction.

The park is said to be big enough to hold 30,000 people. ―Around 3,000 to 5,000 people visit it daily. The number of visitors
increases to around 10,000 to 15,000 on weekends and Mondays,‖ a guard at Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim told Daily Times.
―Security is always tight, and only families are allowed to enter.‖
(By Urooj Zia, DailyTimes-B1, 24/09/2007)


                                   ‘Most schools in coastal villages closed’
KARACHI, Sept 25: Expressing concern over the closure of a large number of schools located in coastal villages, speakers
at a seminar demanded that the government must fulfill its basic responsibility and take up the issue on priority basis.
The seminar, State of education in coastal villages, was organized by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum at a government
school in Hawkesbay. Keamari EDO Ghulam Shabbir Mallah, UC nazim Gabopat Mubarak Singo, Fatah Marri of Actionaid
and PFF chairman Mohammad Ali Shah spoke.

Presenting a paper on the educational infrastructure in coastal villages, Karachi PFF General-Secretary Khuda Gunj said
that there were only 84 primary and secondary schools for half a million inhabitants of 400 villages along the Karachi coast.
Seventy-five per cent of these schools were lying closed, he said, adding that of the total 30,000 children population only
1,300 were acquiring education.

Accusing the government of partisanship, PFF chairman Mohammad Ali Shah said it was spending money on selected
areas while depriving the old inhabitants of Karachi of basic facilities. He condemned the official apathy and vowed to
launch a struggle for the education right of fishing communities.

Keamari EDO Ghulam Shabbir Mallah said though he had been recently appointed he would take all measures within his
means to open schools and provide them with necessary facilities.
(Dawn-19, 26/09/2007)




OCTOBER
                                     Global warming in Sindh Assembly
                              Plant shady trees on east and west of buildings
KARACHI: Urban vegetation can help reduce the level of
atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by as much as four percent by
increasing shade and evaporation and decreasing wind speeds,
stated the Sindh Assembly‘s Standing Committee report on global
warming threats and what can be done in Sindh.

Existing policies on CO2 need to be more inclusive and strictly
enforced, and switching to fuels that release less CO2 is the first
step, said Standing Committee Chairman Anwer Ahmed Khan
Maher who presented the report before the Sindh Assembly.

Shade increases cooling and reduces heat energy thereby
decreasing carbon emissions. The shading effects are influenced by
the size, direction, and distance of trees around a building. Large
trees located several meters from the east or west walls of a building
provide the greatest carbon reduction.

However, ―shade trees planted in the wrong locations can increase
the amount of heat energy usage by reducing the amount of solar
heat during winter. Large shade trees should not be planted close to
the south wall of a building,‖ the report added. Natural gas releases less CO2 than oil, coal or wood. Ideal, energy sources
such as solar power, wind power and hydrogen fuels, which emit no greenhouse gases, should be used.

The Sindh Assembly was informed that the forest ecosystem is especially important in carbon sequestration (i.e. removing
CO2 from the atmosphere). Increased deforestation has generated an excess of CO2. Human activities have reduced the
number of trees available to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

The report also said that oil fields, coal beds and aquifers can serve as CO2 sinks and CO2 can be injected directly into the
ground. The government should implement a policy for collecting released CO2 so that when excess CO2 is released, it
can be captured and injected into the sinks.
(DailyTimes-B1, 06/10/2007)
                                                             17
                                    Revisiting the Quaid's final resting place
Karachi brings images of a city lit up by a million lights, beckoning everyone towards it with promises of advancement, a
better, and to some, a more exciting life. The city holds a special place in Pakistani hearts as it is the birthplace, as well as
the burial place of the Quaid.

Spread over 61 acres of land, in the middle of a city full of people and sound,
the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan is an iconic symbol of the country.
The tomb as we see it today was not designed on the very first day. Ayub
Khan, the first Pakistani military general to seize power through a coup, laid
the foundation of the mausoleum in 1960, but this beautiful piece of
architecture was completed in 1969, during Yahya Khan's regime.

The mausoleum is made of white marble with curved Moorish arches and copper grills resting on an elevated 54 square
meters platform. The cool inner sanctum reflects the green of a four-tiered crystal chandelier gifted by the people of China.
The park around the mausoleum is fitted with strong beamed spot-lights which at night project light on the white
mausoleum and doubled the beauty of it. The location of the tomb is calm and tranquil which is significant considering that
it is in the heart of one of the largest global megalopolises. The glowing tomb can be seen from miles away at night.

The mausoleum is not just a burial chamber, and apart from having become a cultural icon identifying Karachi, it has
historical value as well; the mausoleum premises house a museum displaying the Quaid's belongings.

Quaid-e-Azam's mausoleum has also become a place to hang out for Karachiites. Deputy Project Director, Riaz Ahmed
says, "More than 25,000 people visit the place daily in order to greet the Quaid, enjoy the fresh air and entertain
themselves in the huge garden which surrounds the burial chamber."

Every evening the lush green lawns surrounding the pristinely smooth marble
tomb are crowded with people; children make use of the wide open space to
run about, while parents and families finally find a spot out in the open to
breathe in some fresh air and lay back, or stretch their legs. The reason why
the mazaar is such a popular spot to hang out for families is the fact that it is
possibly one of the cheapest forms of entertainment available to Karachiites.
Aijaz Ahsan, who was accompanied by the many children in his family, feels
that the price is just right for low income groups with huge families, "the entry
fee is just five rupees," he says, "which is very economical."

Aijaz Ahsan also pointed out that with such few parks in the city for children to play in; Bagh-e-Quaid provides not only a
healthy, but safe environment for children to play in, as the area is protected by a boundary wall.

Quaid-e-Azam's mausoleum has always been touted as being in the 'heart of Karachi', and this is one of its greatest pulls
for visitors. With travel time to every other recreational spot in the city doubling thanks to the heavy traffic, the roads to the
mausoleum, though not light on traffic, are still close enough to every area in Karachi to be easily approachable.

Reasons for picking the Quaid's mazaar to visit run deeper than just 'to have fun.' As the country gains years, memories of
the cause that led to the fight for a separate country dim, and yo unger generations especially feel removed from the
struggle for independence. In a bid to put a personality to the stories, parents visit the mausoleum with their children to
show them the Quaid's tomb. Mrs Sadia Razzaq, who is visiting from Lahore, says, "I've brought my children here to show
them the tomb, before the visit, they had only read about the mausoleum in books or seen it on the television," the visit has
proved fruitful, as, "it has coloured the picture in their minds."

The Quaid's belongings are showcased as memorials beside the tomb which are an addition in the visitors' attraction.
These memorials were presented by the Quaid's sister, Shireen Bibi to the Commission of Enquiry for display purposes.
The objects have been on display since 1984 after being tested for bacterial infections.

The museum greatly interests every one either above 60 years of age or below 10. The Quaid's cars, clothes, books,
awards etc, seem to tell the story of his glorious life in different ways, including the stories of independence and the
establishment of Pakistan.

Quaid-e-Azam's official and private cars, a 1947 Cadillac, and 1938 Packard transport people half a century back. It is
through proper maintenance and devoted care that the cars look as if they have just been driven out of a showroom. The
deputy director says that the place is cleaned on regular basis with proper care and concern.

Furniture used by Quaid-e-Azam is presented in a way that it looks as if it is still
in use. A visitor, Shahid Jan, upon seeing the dining table set with beautiful blue
china and silverware, as though for a formal dinner, comments, "It feels as
though the food is ready and about to be served to the Quaid and his guests." A
lion skin rug is placed between the dining and drawing room settings, which
appeals greatly to children.

Fahad Khan, an aged visitor from Larkana, was deeply touched, as he viewed
the display, "the furniture and other objects have been arranged to perfection and
portray the discipline of the owners' life and personality." He observed that the
atmosphere of the study has been designed such that it evokes a desire in
visitors to just grab a book, sit down, and start reading!

The management is making more efforts to provide new facilities to visitors. An audio visual room is under construction and
expected to be completed within two months. The audio visual room is the brain child of the Resident Engineer,
Mohammad Arif. The project is costing about 17.5 million rupees and the room has the capacity to hold 150 people. The
size of the screen in the audio visual room will be 10 feet by 30 feet.


                                                               18
Documentaries revolving around the Quaid's life, construction of the mausoleum, etc will be available for viewing by school
children every day. Mohammad Arif says that schools will be invited to register themselves for the audio visual programs
after its completion, through advertisements. It has also been planned that environmental lectures will be delivered to the
students and they will later be asked to educate visitors about what they have learnt either verbally or through actions.

Apart from the emotional value the mausoleum holds for visitors, the green, shady lawns surrounding the tomb are a spot
picked by many couples out on a date. However, these couples are mindful of where they are and behave modestly. Dating
on the premises is discouraged by the management though and guards can often be seen issuing warnings to the young
and in love.

Meticulous maintenance is visible across all 61 acres of mausoleum premises, further drawing visitors. One can not find
even the thinnest layer of dust on any of the objects on display in the museum. "Maximum efforts are made to maintain the
place in order to avoid giving visitors a single chance to criticize the place," says Riaz Ahmed.
"Routine cleaning is carried out daily, but thorough maintenance measures are
taken every six months," adds Riaz Ahmed, "the furniture is polished, clothes
cleaned and the show cases sprayed in order to achieve the most pleasing
look."

In a reversal of roles, the management of the mausoleum has several
complaints against the public. Riaz Ahmed says, "Despite strict checking,
visitors spit paan and guthka all over the place, chewing gum and paan are
very difficult to clean but visitors are not concerned about this."

Riaz adds that the fountain gets so polluted within two days of cleaning that
the base cannot be seen.

However, the development of the mausoleum doesn't just end here. "A number of other projects are in the pipeline which
include a freedom movement museum, a central library and an auditorium," Resident Engineer Mohammad Arif tells
Kolachi.

Quaide-e-Azam's mausoleum is a permanent landmark and monument in Karachi, but as is often quoted, there is nothing
permanent but change. The well maintained and currently progressing mausoleum is a spark of hope for educating the
masses about important historic and civic facts, and it seems that it will keep evolving, and along with it, will encourage t he
people who visit to constantly evolve as well.
(By Tabassum Ali, The News-41, 07/10/2007)



                              Camel owners at the beach victimised by police
Camel owners, who entertain the young and old at the Karachi beach, are being harassed by law enforcing agencies‘
personnel deployed at these places who are extorting money from them. In case of refusal to pay this money, they are not
allowed to do their business, alleged the locals.

There are more than 300 families who earn their living by entertaining picnickers who visit the beaches of Sea Breeze,
Clifton, Manora, Hawkes Bay, Sandspit, Paradise Point and others. They get about Rs5-10 for every ride that is taken on
their camels.

These camel owners get up early in the morning to decorate their animals, adorning them with paraphernalia to make them
look attractive, and then proceed towards their respective beaches only to return home at midnight. They cannot sleep for
more than four hours a day, as they spend the time that they are awake running after their camels only for the sake of
entertaining the sightseers.

Traditionally, these people own livestock and crop farmers but since rain is hard to come by in these areas, they have
opted for fishing as an alternate source for their livelihood. Some people go out in the sea to fish, but others are in this
business to solely earn a living. While the men are at work, the women take care of their home. They fetch water from salty
wells for the washing, bring potable water from community tanks and arrange fuel wood for cooking.

Though there is no electricity and other basic facilities, they enjoy their lives with their particular activities. Women keep
themselves busy in embroidery while the children enjoy themselves with traditional games till sunset.

These camel holders reside mostly in Arab Saffar Goth, Deh Allah Banu, Deh Mendiary and Deh Man villages.
―I had two camels earlier but sold them because of the changing situation,‖ said Fatah Mohammed Bhand, who belongs to
Allah Banu, Keamari Town.

Recalling the past, he said, ―These people entertain picnickers through their animals. They are peaceful and deal with the
customers politely. But now, the police have imposed restrictions on them. The police sometimes snatch their entire
earnings when they are on their way home.‖
―To whom should they complain? No one is interested in helping them,‖ he said.

Bhiroo Bhand, a victim of police harassment, said, ―The police have forced us to become unemployed. Nowadays they
encourage their own agents to get camels at these beaches, especially the ones at Clifton. Some of the local people give
their animals on rent to the police and in return, they get a little amount of money from them after sunset.‖
―Not only this, but these people also pay the police for running their camels and horses in the city streets at night to
entertain the children in Ramazan,‖ he added.

Mahmood Gabol, an activist from Ibrahim Hyderi, said: ―Earlier, there were more camels in the locality but now there are
only about two to three animals left to entertain the people at nearby beaches.‖ Originally, these peo ple belonged to the
localities of Hawkes Bay, but have been residing in this village for the last 40 years, he added.


                                                              19
In Jatt villages, near Rehri, Bin Qasim Town, people still own around 100 camels, but they keep them wandering around at
different islands that are surrounded by the mangroves forest. These camels stay in the mangroves forests for 10 months
except in June and July. During the summer months, they bring these animals back by boats to their villages.

The owners, who are engaged in fishing, take water for their animals kept on the boats daily and after a successful catch,
they bring milk for them. They do not use their animals for riding themselves.

Keeping a camel is considered a respectable activity in remote villages, located off the main road near Hawkes Bay
beaches, where using a camel is the only means of transport available. In an emergency, these camel holders with the help
of their animals take patients to nearby clinics since there are hardly any other transport facilities available in these
localities.

Earlier, these people had hundreds of camels, herds of cows, goats and sheep. Selling milk, butter and meat to the city
markets was an important source of their income. But due to the persistent drought, they cannot afford to keep all these
different animals.
They usually brought mangrove leaves as fodder for their animals, but now after the recent rains, there are green patches
in their localities too which serves as food for their livestock.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-20, 08/10/2007)



                                          $5bn refinery approved for Hub
ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: The government approved on Wednesday construction of the Coastal Refinery Project costing $5
billion at Khalifa Point in Hub area of Balochistan.
It also decided to advise the Oil and Gas Development Corporation to allocate and dedicate at least 80 per cent of the
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) produced from Chanda filed for distribution in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(Fata).

These decisions were taken at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held here on
Wednesday with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in the chair.

Briefing newsmen, Adviser to the Finance Ministry Dr. Ashfaq Hassan Khan said the refinery would be established as a
joint venture by the Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Pak-Arab Refinery
Company (Parco) with equity participation of 74 and 26 per cent, respectively. The project would be completed and
commissioned by the first quarter of 2011.The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources had been allowed to sign the
implementation agreement with IPIC within a month, he added.

Mr Khan said that the project with a refining capacity of 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day would cost $4-5 billion and the
preliminary work had already been started. He said that various concessions, including a 20 -year tax holiday, exemption
from five per cent workers‘ profit participation and exemption from 0.5 per cent services charges under the export
processing zones rules, had been anno unced for the project.
―These initiatives would be applicable for all the refineries and petrochemical projects to be installed along the coastal be lt
of Balochistan, particularly Gwadar,‖ he added.

Answering a question, the adviser said that the products manufactured by the refinery would be exported as well as sold in
the local market.

The ECC also approved reduction of duty on the import of bitumen from 15 per cent to 5 per cent, he said.

Mr Khan said that a summary for the provision of LPG to Fata had also been approved. He said that the Oil and Gas
Regulatory Authority would ensure that the LPG dedicated from Chanda field was marketed in these areas.

The finance ministry adviser said that the meeting reviewed flour prices and expressed satisfaction over its availability in
the market. He ruled out any increase in flour prices the days ahead. He said as of October 7 the wheat stock stood at 3.79
million tonnes. He said that the foreign exchange reserves reached the highest ever $16.34 billion.

Mr Khan said that the sales of utility stores recorded a three-time increase during Ramazan as compared to the previous
month. He said that the number of utility stores outlets would reach 6,000 by the end of 2007.
(Dawn-1, 11/10/2007)



                               Poor landing sites in coastal villages common
Passing through a dilapidated road leading to a coastal locality, Rehri, from Ibrahim Hyderi, one may feel excited to see
mangroves trees, easily visible at a short distance from the coastal hamlet. Rehri, with a population of 35,000 , is the
second largest area situated on Karachi‘s coast. About 95 per cent of the population gets its livelihood from fishing. The
villagers own about 1,000 fishing boats of different sizes.

Here, one can also see workers were putting together heaps of salt which are left to dry in the sun. Sadly, however, many
small boats have been abandoned at the shore because of low tide. Fishermen are careful about their boats and fishing
tools, as they sit in groups engaged in repairing fishing nets and boat engines.

Interestingly enough, poor landing sites means a more conducive environment for fishermen to carry out their everyday
activities. For example, children can be seen swimming at the beach and going near the mangroves to catch crabs. Each
boy earns anywhere between Rs50 to Rs300 daily depending on the size of their catch. They sell crabs to local traders at
the landing sites.

The female workforce brings mangrove leaves on boats from nearby forests and off -loads the same at the beach. This they
sell as fodder for the livestock. ―These mangroves provide us food and fuel. We are aware of the importance of these trees.
                                                              20
Our children cannot think of destroying it. We are the traditional custodians of these waters,‖ said Nawaz Dablo, an activist
of Dabla locality.

Landhi and Korangi industrial zones reportedly discharge the entire effluent in the sea in the Union Council (UC) Rehri
jurisdiction. Besides, 700 million gallon of sewerage is being discharged into the sea from Cattle Colony alone.

Despite pleas made by the locals, authorities are reluctant to take action against the responsible of this havoc, he added.
The UC does not have sufficient funds for development and, hence, it is unable to address the problems of the community.
The authorities have neglected the village with the result that the once beautiful landscapes of the area are quickly
vanishing.

Furthermore, residents do not have access to potable water and heaps of garbage can be seen everywhere. It is because
of the inadequate health and sanitatio n facilities that water-borne diseases are a common problem in the area. The
increasing level of pollution at the seashore, and the lack of planning at the UC and town level are making life more and
more difficult for residents by the day.

Ayoub Shan, a former councilor of UC Rehri, said that ―Pollution is major problem which has caused the destruction of
mangrove forests. It is a home for shrimps and natural beauty which should be preserved.‖

Not only this but also the rates of most essential commodity items are on rise. The fishermen cannot afford to buy flour at
Rs20 per kg. ―Unfortunately, the rates of shrimp and other fish are declining day by day. A majority of the people live below
the poverty line. This is an attempt to destroy the fishing community,‖ he said.

Reports show that the over-grazing of camels and the chopping of trees for fuel wood and fodder has resulted in the
stunting of the growth of mangroves in many areas. They are of the opinion that a lack of community ownership of the
mangroves is also a problem.
The level of the sea is far above the ground, which is why sanitation is a continuous problem in Dabla. Residents say they
face problems twice in month during the high tides. The rainy season creates major problems for the community a nd some
times, they have no choice but to move to different areas.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-20, 24/10/2007)



                           Army’s failure to develop park sparks misuse fears
KARACHI, Oct 25: A large amenity plot in Clifton‘s Boat Basin, given by the city government to the Corps V of the Pakistan
Army under the adopt-a-park scheme, is facing an uncertain future since the army has shelved development plans without
informing the city government, fuelling fears that the mystery surrounding this prime piece of real estate is being
engineered to pave the way for its conversion into a housing scheme.

Colonel Idrees of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) told Dawn that while Corps V had intended to establish a polo
ground and a park at the seven-acre site, ―these plans have now been shelved.‖

However, the city government‘s chief of parks, Liaquat Ali Khan, said that he was unsure why the army had not yet initiated
the development work, revealing the city government‘s ignorance of the change in plans.

Sources pointed out that if Corps V did not intend to establish the park, the land should immediately be returned to the city
government so that the area remains a public amenity plot and is prevented from being misused for commercial or other
purposes. The land, worth an estimated Rs10 billion on the open market, was reserved for a public entertainment area
comprising a hippodrome, an open-air theatre and a park. Reliable sources informed Dawn that the city government had in
fact begun work on its boundary wall when the Corps V offered to establish a polo ground and a park on the site. This was
confirmed by parks‘ chief Liaquat Ali Khan, who explained that the agreement took place during the city government‘s
caretaker set-up after the earlier city nazim, Niamatullah Khan, left office and before the current nazim, Mustafa Kamal,
took charge.

Reportedly, members of a polo organisation had persuaded the army to develop the Boat Basin plot when the city
government asked the players to stop using their earlier ground in Clifton‘s Bagh Ibne Qasim, where they had played polo
for the past few years. Subsequently, Corps V approached the city government and obtained permission in this regard.

Ownership dispute
The fears regarding the eventual fate of this plot are heightened by the fact that a portion of it is already under dispute.
Sources told Dawn that the original plot measured about 14 acres, about half of which were carved out over a decade ago
and given to the Civil Aviation Authority to construct a squash complex. The allotment agreement was cancelled when the
CAA failed to construct within the stipulated period. However, this cancellation was challenged by the CAA and the dispute
has been pending in the courts for many years, a fact confirmed by parks‘ chief Liaquat Ali Kha n.

Pointing out that work on the seven-acre park/polo ground had not been initiated despite the passage of over a year,
sources said that the army may have been eyeing the other half of the plot which was under dispute. ―The army was
probably trying to resolve the issue between the CAA and the city government so that it could get control of the full 14
acres,‖ said sources, adding that a polo ground normally required around 12 to 13 acres of land. Now that the polo
ground/park plan had been shelved, however, sources raised the question of why the land had not been returned to the city
government and hoped that the ―shelving‖ did not pave the way for a housing scheme.

‘Plot much sought after’
Dawn was informed that this chunk of land has over the years been much sought after by various parties. Some time ago, it
was proposed that it be handed over to the United States so that the US Consulate General could be relocated from its
current premises on Abdullah Haroon Road, where its security requirements have created increasing problems for
commuters and citizens alike. However, this proposal was shelved when residents of the localities adjoining the Boat Basin
plot staged protest demonstrations fearing that shifting the consulate would expose the area to terrorist threats.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 26/10/2007)

                                                            21
                                   Residents oppose Sugarland city project
The residents of Hawkes Bay villages, councilors and Nazims have strongly opposed the construction of the Sugarland city
in the area, as they believe the project may cause displacement of the local communities. It is mostly the fishermen and
traditional herdsmen living in the area which will be included in Sugarland city.

In this regard a community consultation meeting, jointly organised by the Pakistan Mahigeer Tahreek (PMT) and SPO, was
held at the wetland centre of WWF Pakistan. The meeting was attended by several members of the fishing community,
elected representatives from the Hawkes Bay area and civil society organizations — including the IUCN Pakistan, WWF
Pakistan, Shehri, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Shirkat Gah.

The participants vowed to resist this plan which they said would displace villagers, deprive them of their livelihoods and
destroy mangroves. The community people and nazims complained that the government has yet to convey any information
on the project and they feel that the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) will displace the dozens of centuries -old
villages of the fishermen and herdsmen.

The Sugarland city project has been planned at 60,000 acres of land in the area. Nasir Panhwar of the IUCN, Pakistan,
shared that his organisation is mobilising an international panel of experts to study the mega construction projects on
Karachi coast.

The community people from different villages said that their villages are deprived of most basic amenities, such as potable
water, schools and health centres. The PMT is trying to mobilise the community and create awareness regarding the
impact of the Sugarland city on local communities and natural resources. Stakeholders fear that they will be deprived of
their land and natural resources in the name of development. Naseer Memon, an environmentalist, made a presentation in
the meeting, sharing details of the project and its likely impact on the poor communities.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-20, 30/10/2007)




NOVEMBER
                 Why were Safari Park contracts given to lowest bidders, asks Opp
KARACHI: Members of the Opposition in the City Council have demanded an extensive inquiry into why the three contr acts
for Safari Park were awarded to companies that had made the lowest bids and have asked the convenor Naib Nazim
Nasreen Jalil to call EDO Community Development Rehana Saif to clarify.
The house, in its session held Wednesday, unanimously approved five resolutions including two related to the issue of
leasing two katchi abadis that fall in the jurisdiction of Jamshed Town.

When the proceedings began, treasury member Mohibuddin Fatimi presented three resolutions regarding the Safari Park
issue. The resolutions questioned the following contracts: the rights to establish a tea-stall in the park to Ghazi Corporation
that had made a bid worth Rs 2.34 million, the rights to run a photo studio in the park to Madani Corporation that had made
a bid of Rs 92,500, and the rights to collect an entry fee for the park to Amanullah Khan Qadri who had made a bid of Rs
3.5 million.

The opposition members, in their speeches, objected to details presented by Fatimi, which they called incomplete and
incompetent.

―Last year, the rights to the photo studio were awarded to the contractor at a bid of Rs 0.2 million, but he left after one
month and the city government had to seize the 10 percent security deposit he had paid at the time of contract. This time,
we had set the target at Rs 90,000 keeping in mind our collection of Rs 83,000 in 2005-06. The new contract was given to
the highest bid, which was Rs 92,500,‖ Fatimi said.

Leader of the Opposition from the Awam Dost panel Saeed Ghani criticized the department for giving the rights to the photo
studio for a very low bid as activities were in full swing in Safari Park. ―The number of visitors has increased tremendously
following the city government‘s efforts in the past two years to install various recreational facilities in the park.‖

Abdul Rasheed of the Opposition benches also raised the point that the auction of less than Rs 2 million had not been
brought to the City Council but had been clarified by Accounts Committee Chairman Itrat Jahan. Imran Saeed Baghpati
asked the convenor to form a committee to conduct a thorough inquiry into the issue, as something did not seem quite right
with the procedure that had been used to award these contracts.

Another Opposition member Muhammad Islam demanded that all resolutions related to the Community Development
Department of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) as neither the concerned committee member nor DDO Safari
Park Syed Kazim Hussain had proper information on these issues. ―To clarify these issues and answering the queries
raised by the Opposition members, the house should call EDO Community Development Rehana Saif,‖ he said.

The naib nazim asked the members to avoid creating hurdles in the CDGK‘s routine work and called for voting on the
resolution, which was adopted on a majority basis despite the Opposition‘s reluctance to approve.
Two other resolutions regarding Safari Park were also raised and the Opposition demanded a fair inquiry into those matters
also.

Treasury bench member Masood Mehmood, responding to an allegation of corruption by Opposition member Junaid
Makati, suggested that a joint resolution should be passed to bring all such matters into the City Council before the
commencement of the new fiscal year. ―The auctions for these three contracts were he ld in May and June, the concerned


                                                             22
department had sent these resolutions after four months of the new fiscal year and awarded the contract to the highest
bidders,‖ he said.
Opposition member Muhammad Islam also pointed out that there was only one contractor who was obtaining contracts of
parks in the city by using pseudonyms and this was causing a loss of million of rupees to the CDGK.

Later, Asghar Ali of the Treasury benches forwarded two resolutions demanding that the two katchi abadies, which fell
under his jurisdiction, should be leased. ―There are 418 plots in Gul-e-Raana Colony near Soldier Bazaar, which has been
an established society since 1947. The residents enjoy all civic amenities such as water, sewerage, telephone lines, sui
gas and electricity. Also, Katchi Para (also in Soldier Bazaar) has 148 plots but was deprived the facility of being lease and
was notified as a katchi abadi in the survey conducted in 1986,‖ he said.

The opposition members suggested that all such notified katchi abadis sho uld also be given the lease facility without any
discrimination and the resolutions were approved unanimously.
The session was adjourned for Thursday by Convenor Nasreen Jalil.
(DailyTimes-B1, 01/11/2007)



                                         Development along coastline
                                     Research urged to help avert disaster
KARACHI, Nov 8: Sensing that unguided development projects and urbanisation activities along the beaches and coastal
belt of Karachi could pose devastating impacts on the ecosystem of the sea, a senior scientist, Prof Nayyer Alam Zaigham,
has called for integrated research works that may help contain the damage.

Prof Zaigham, an expert on geophysics and environmental issues and a researcher under the Higher Education
Commission, was delivering a lecture on the environmental impact of constructions on beaches and near offshore areas at
                                                    th
a forum organised by the Urban Resource Centre on 8 November 2007.

Like other areas, the urbanisation of reclaimed beaches also entailed complexities which could be efficiently managed by
ensuring lesser changes in the coastal configuration, he said, adding that natural and man-made human settlements and
industrial development needed to be studied minutely to avoid a worse scenario in the future.
He said that unknowing or deliberate narrowing of mouths of the Malir River and Korangi Creak, dumping of all sort of
industrial and municipal effluents and wastes in the Lyari River had already done damage to the ecosystem of the sea,
while new development right in the coastal strip was also appearing as a subject of deliberations and source of concern, he
said.

According to him, Karachiites were almost close to exposing themselves to the sea -wave activities, including reduced
deposition of sand in the absence of a breakwater, sinking of some civil structure and noted change of gradients along the
coastal line.

The eruption of micro earthquakes of magnitude one to three during 1998 to 2007 in the Karachi region, mostly in the
Clifton and Defence areas, was also an alarming matter, demanding thorough environmental impact study before
embarking on various projects.

He recommended a set of research studies on historical and modern data on seismic activity in the area, establishment of
seismic networks, geological mapping for urbanisation, development of a GIS model f or Karachi, formation of guidelines for
remedial and restoration measures, ecological changes of Karachi rivers and changes in the coastal configuration.

While taking questions from the audience, Prof Zaigham did not give a direct comment on the developme nt of islands and
waterfronts in Karachi, but hinted that a hazard was in offing due to such developments in Dubai. He also disagreed with
Zahid Farooq, the joint director of URC, that there was a need to make the issue of scientific studies on coastal areas part
of political agenda of parties in Pakistan, particularly at a time when they were headed for a general election.

Dr Zaigham remarked that the scientific baseline preparation needed long-concentrated works, free of biases or
exploitation of relevant quarters.
(Dawn-19, 09/11/2007)



                                   Dabla villagers muddled with adversities
Women and young girls of a fishermen locality called Dabla can be seen fetching water in groups from near-by places for
domestic use. Water is a huge problem for the locality. Some families share cemented water tanks and buy water from
private tankers for Rs700.

Originally hailing from places like the Indus Delta, Keti Bunder, Kharo Chan and Sir Creek, around 300 families have been
settled in Dabla near Rehri, the second largest fishing locality of Bin Qasim Town.
These people migrated from the Indus Delta earlier after the sea erosions started and their homes and land were destroyed
by the seawater. Due to the lack of fresh water in the River Indus, they left their ancestral homes and settled at the Karachi
coast. Since then they have been here, receiving other families coming from the same neighbourhoods, helping them to
settle in.

When one family of Bholo Dablo, a traditional singer, first migrated to the existing site it was nothing but open, green land.
The local people had herds of cows, camels and goats in hundreds in the area. Bholo sent a message to his relatives in the
Indus Delta that he had found a better place for living and earning their livelihood near the other co ast. Then several
families arrived along with their animals in tow. The process of migration of these communities is going on till this day.

Since the village is located below sea level, the people are faced with difficulties in the monsoon season because of the
high tide but they cannot leave the area. All the men and women keep themselves engaged in fishing activities. The men

                                                             23
catch the fish and sell it to the local traders at Rehri landing sites. The women, who went with the men to dry fish and other
isolated islands, have now found other jobs making mats, doing embroidery, etc., to earn money.
There is no proper supply of electricity in the village. The Pakistan People‘s Party (PPP) MNA Haji Muzaffar Shujra got an
approval for the provision of a power supply line from his quota for the locality in 1994 but this was not implemented. It is
probably the only locality in the vicinity, which has been deprived of electricity and gas facilities.

There is a primary school for the community which is being run by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) for the last three
years. The PFF has appointed two teachers for the school, where boys and girls have been enrolled. The irony is that there
isn‘t a single person in the entire locality that has done matric. The community people are not interested in sending their
children to schools. Instead, they take them to sea. Young children get an equal share of their catch. Those boys who do
not go to school are engaged in catching crabs and earn a little to ease their families‘ troubles.

The skilled villagers make and repair fishing nets and renovate their boat engines. They are able to build their own houses
and help each other in such activities.

Earlier, the Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) built a wall in front of the sea to protect the village. But the same wall is
insufficient to shield villagers. During high tide — June and July — they helplessly watch their homes flood with seawater.
The high tide hits the locality twice in one month, since the village is below sea level. The community is unable to clean the
seawater, which is polluting the village.

The villagers have made wooden sheds above the ground to save their belongings and mostly sleep there. They have also
built their kitchens above sea level. However, now and again, one can see several courtyards that are flooded every time
one passes through the village.

Union Council (UC) Rehri has built five community toilets for women inside the shore. There is no playground for the
children, who can be seen swimming in the seawater.

Though they have migrated, these people still have national identity cards with local addresses. They have been enrolled in
voter lists as well. They cast votes to the local influentials, but in return they are given nothing. In any kind of emergency,
they go to Rehri or other city area clinics for treatment.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-20, 09/11/2007)



                                 KPT set to develop disputed Boat Basin site
KARACHI, Nov 14: The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) is moving ahead with plans to hand over a disp uted property in the
expensive Clifton area to a builder while the city government has warned people not to get involved in the project as it
claims it owns the land, it has been reliably learnt here.

According to sources, the city government plans to develop a park
on the disputed 20 acres along the Boat Basin Park while the KPT is
expecting to earn approximately Rs20 billion from the project,
dubbed the Port Shopping District, over the next five years.

The disputed land stretches from the sailing centre near the Bilawal
Chowrangi almost up to Ziauddin Hospital and is sandwiched
between the road connecting Clifton and Shireen Jinnah Colony and
the eastern backwaters of the Karachi Port.

The KPT maintains that it owns the land while the city government
insists that it had purchased the land from the KPT so it was now the
CDGK‘s property.

Some of the land for the proposed housing-cum-commercial project
is to be reclaimed from the eastern backwaters, though the KPT
maintains that the land will only be ‗realigned‘ and not reclaimed,
which is opposed by environmentalists.

Some time ago both the government organizations were almost
engaged in a war-like situation when their armed guards took
positions and tried to take/maintain possession by force. However, better sense prevailed and a potentially ugly situation
was averted, as both groups decided to maintain the status quo and sort out the issue through negotiations.

Old dispute
Tracing the history of the disputed land, the sources said that when the erstwhi le Karachi Development Authority‘s (KDA)
Scheme 5, Clifton, was planned nearly half a century ago, a piece of KPT land – approximately 638 acres – was also
included in it and the KDA and KPT started negotiations on the issue. The land was divided into four pieces – piece A was
294 acres; B was 90 acres; C was 228 acres and D was 25 acres.

The matter was decided by the Karachi commissioner in 1967 and the KDA was to pay Rs4,000 per acre – approximately
Re1 per square yard, to the KPT. However the then Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) objected and claimed that it
owned two pieces – C and D, roughly 228 acres – of the land. The KDA stopped the payment for the disputed land, while
the payment for the rest was made to the KPT, which continued to demand the rest of the payment also.

The dispute was again decided by the deputy commissioner (south) in 1988, who rejected the KMC‘s claim and said that
the land (disputed 228 acres) belonged to the KPT and the KDA should make the payment. The KPT continued to dem and
the payment, which was not made.

The KPT – getting sick of the endless waiting and also keeping in mind the prices of the land, which had appreciated

                                                             24
significantly in the meantime – informed the KDA on Sept 22, 1994 that as it had not made the payment, the Boat Basin
area – approximately 238 acres – was being resumed with immediate effect.
The KDA suddenly woke up and got the approval of the payment from its governing body on the same day – Sept 22, 1994
– and sent the cheque of the balance payment – Rs1.1 million – to the KPT on Oct 9, 1994, which the KPT has not en-
cashed. So technically, the KDA claimed to have paid the amount while the KPT maintained that it had not received it,
insisting that the land allotment to the KDA stood cancelled. The KDA o ver the years fenced the disputed land and
developed a park – the Boat Basin Park – along the waterfront from Mai Kolachi Bypass up to the Bilawal Chowrangi. The
city government currently maintains this park.

All seemed quiet until recently when the city government found out that the KPT had entered into an agreement with a
consortium comprising local as well as international builders and developers for 20 acres along the waterfront between the
Bilawal Chowrangi and the truck stand near Ziauddin Hospital. It was also claimed that the KPT had given away the land
very cheaply.

Conflicting claims
Responding to Dawn‘s queries the city government – successors of the KDA and KMC – officials said that the land
belonged to the CDGK, which plans to develop a park on the land, and the payment had been made to the KPT. The city
government, through a Nov 14, 2007 advertisement, has also advised people not to enter into any kind of agreement with
any organization, department, agency etc., regarding the Boat Basin Park as the CDKG owned it and the land was notified
as a park.

However KPT sources told Dawn that the port trust owned all the Boat Basin parkland that was within the fences. It had
entered an agreement with a consortium – comprising Dubai-based developer and builder Al-Habtoor Group, local party
Artistic Denium and others – and 20 acres are being given to it. Land would not be reclaimed from the eastern backwaters
and would only be ‗realigned,‘ they claimed, saying that environmentalists would be concerned if t he word reclamation was
used. The KPT was also not aware of the ―land-use‖ of the disputed land under the master plan.

Another concrete jungle?
The developer would, with his investment, construct the Port Shopping District comprising shopping malls, offices,
residences, entertainment outlets, etc. Over Rs48 billion would be generated from the project and the KPT would get its
share of 41 per cent or Rs19.8 billion from the project. The existing Boat Basin Park will be taken back from the city
government and will be given to the developer to develop a modern entertainment and recreation facility.

The proposal has been sent to Islamabad and after its approval the project would start in early 2008. The KPT officials,
however, maintained that the port trust would not fight the CDGK and the issue would be settled through negotiations, as
both the city government and the communications ministry, the parent organization of the KPT, were headed by people
belonging to the same group.

The citizens of the city, however, feel concerned as they do not know how the issue will be resolved: will there be a park or
will a concrete jungle consume the open space?
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 15/11/2007)



                                      Marine park status for Astola sought
KARACHI, Nov 19: The Pakistan government should declare the Astola Island a marine national park and take urgent
steps to conserve what is left of this precious natural resource having a great ecological and economical value.
The co-director of Marine Conservation International, Edinburgh, Scotland and DelPHE coordinator Pakistan, Dr Rupert
Ormond, made this point at a seminar, Marine biodiversity conservation: a key to the human livelihood, organised by the
Centre of Excellence in Marine Biology, Karachi University, in collaboration with the British Council, Karachi, on Monday.

The seminar marked the launch of a DelPHE project, designed to enhance the capacity of participating institutions from
Pakistan and Bangladesh to asses, monitor and manage biodiversity for conservation and develop eco -friendly aquaculture
and fisheries technology by utilising the UK expertise. The project is funded by the Department for International
Development, the UK.

Narrating his account of the hard corals and reef fish assemblage in Pakistan, Dr Ormond said older scientific literature
usually showed no existence of coral or coral reefs in Pakistani waters, though these were abundantly found in the adjacent
areas like the Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat, India and Oman.

However, he said, studies in some recently released reports showed the existence of coral patches along the Makran
Coast at the Astola (Haftalar, local name) and around Churna islands. Coral reef ecosystems were vital to the survival of
world‘s fisheries as they supported enormous biodiversity and provided revenue to local communities, he added.

―In our survey of Balochistan coastal waters, we found 32 species of hard corals and 80 species of reef fishes. Their
concentration was large at the Astola. This is perhaps owing to what we can say ‗the icing of the cake‘ as there is a wealth
of systems including the mangroves and pelagic fish population that needed to be studied. We also found highly diverse
fossil corals in Gwadar,‖ he said while suggesting Pakistani officials to declare the island a marine national park and protect
the best remaining coastal areas from the adverse impacts of development.

Threats to Astola
Dr Ormond warned, ―If immediate measures were not taken, this precious natural resource would be extinct within the next
10 years.‖

He said that Astola, which was not only a home for bird, fish and coral species and the associated habitat but also a
breeding place for turtles along the Makran coast near Pasni, could suffer damages by the use of dangerous fishing nets,
the fishermen collecting corals, lobsters and turtle eggs, besides the adverse impacts of development.

Giving a presentation on Shrimp fisheries and farming in Pakistan, Moazzam Khan of the Marine Fisheries Department said

                                                             25
the shrimp industry had witnessed a major slump over the past five years. He said the annual catch had reduced from
25,000 tons of large-sized shrimps to 16,000 tons and 17,000 tons, which comprised 70pc small-sized shrimps, Kiddi.
―The shrimp habitat has been destroyed completely and the main activity left now is to catch trash fish,‖ he said, citing over-
exploitation, stagnant international market, EU ban on exports and fierce competition with cultured shrimp as the reason for
the poor catch.

Talking about the progress of Bangladesh in fisheries, DelPHE coordinato r for Bangladesh Dr Maruf Hossain said that the
second most important source of foreign exchange was fisheries.

In 2001-02, he said, the country achieved the highest ever export earnings from the fisheries sector of which 89 per cent
was derived by exporting frozen processed shrimp. Pakistan could learn a lot from the experience of Bangladesh that stood
among the top eight shrimp producing countries, he said, adding that the major chunk (i.e. about 95pc of the total fisheries)
came from small scale farmers.

Highlighting the need for research in aquaculture in Pakistan, DelPHE coordinator for the UK, Anton Immink, said economic
value was important in any research and aquaculture was very productive from that perspective. Investment in indigenous
species and good practices was the key to rewarding aquaculture business.

Dr Pirzada Jamal Siddiqui of the KU‘s Centre of Excellence in Marine Biology talked about the institution‘s educational
linkages within the country and abroad. He said staff and students were trained in biodiversity conservation under the
collaborative educational programmes.

Dr Ikhlaq Ahmed, Syed Mashood Rizvi, Dr Itrat Zehra, Dr Moazzam Rabbani, Dr Ghazala Siddiqui and others addressed
the seminar.
(Dawn-19, 20/11/2007)



                                            Why this cable car service?
IT seems the vultures were only waiting to swoop in for the kill and they found the right opportunity with Interior Minister
Aftab Sherpao‘s exit. Mr Sherpao was firmly opposed to the construction of a cable car project in Islamabad, which was
nearly finalised when he cancelled it on environmental grounds. The construction of the cable car service was between the
Children‘s Park and Margalla Hills, a distance of about 2.5kms, and which, if built, would have caused considerable
damage to the flora and fauna in the National Park Area. Mr Sherpao must be commended for halting the construction,
especially since so many of his colleagues did not care about the environmental degradation taking place in the country. It
is, however, tragic that with his departure, the Capital Development Authority has decided to restart the project — and it
seems there is no responsible voice to stop it this time round.

Instead of being venerated, environmentalists‘ voices seem to carry no weight today. Even though environmental
assessment reports are meant to play a crucial role in deciding whether a development project should go ahead or not,
their findings are rarely paid heed to. Even in the case of the cable car project, the concerns raised by the Pakistan
Environment Protection Agency have been ignored. The agency recommended an alternative route for the cable service
but that too was rejected. Those at the helm must realise how the environment is being butchered in the name of
development. And there is reason to believe that those involved in multi-million-rupee projects stand to gain a lot financially.
Such allegations must be seriously investigated and the proper procedure already laid out must be strictly adhered to,
especially in respect of the environment assessment report.
(Dawn-7, 25/11/2007)




DECEMBER
                           Work on the Twin Island project comes to a standstill
The fishermen of Karachi coast have claimed that the personnel of Emaar International, a UAE -based construction
company has wound up their work at the controversial twin islands of Bhundhar and Dingi near the coast of Karachi.
However, Emaar authorities refute the claim, saying they have only temporarily suspended work and the project has not
been abandoned.

―This is the result of our struggle,‖ said Muhammad Ali Shah, chairman of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF). Bhundhar
and Dingi (Buddo) islands are bordered by Korangi and Phitti creeks. Bhundhar is one of the biggest and highest of all
islands along the Sindh Coast, with a length of about eight kilometres. The width of the island varies — it is about 4km-wide
in the north and 1km in the south.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared this island as a high priority area (HPA). The IUCN
says the islands also serve as a breeding ground for the green turtles along with offering a sanctuary for resident and
migratory bird species.

Last year, the former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz approved the development of Diamond Bar Island City on Dingi (Buddo)
and Bhundhar (Bundal) Islands in 13 years at a cost of $43.135 billion where a Dubai-based company, Emaar, would
develop residential, commercial and leisure real-estate projects, industrial parks, free trade zone and port terminals over
12,000 acres.

Local fishermen mainly cite four major reasons to oppose the project. Foremost among them is the fact that thousands of
fishermen hunt for fishes in the creek and once the city is developed, they won‘t be allowed on these islands.

                                                              26
Secondly, the area between the reclaimed land of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and the Dingi Island is a path for
the fishermen to go in the open sea, which will be denied to them.

Thirdly, mangrove forests adjacent to these twin islands, which come under the proposed 12,000 acres of land, will not
sustain in the new city.

And finally, the sea, which is already polluted with 300MGD (million gallons per day) of untreated waste from the city, will
be further polluted with the new developments, endangering the fish species.

Referring to the winding up at the twin islands, one official of Emaar Pakistan in Islamabad told The News they had packed
their big tent for repair work, which has probably caused confusion.
He said the company had imported an aluminum tent (80 metres by 60 metres), the first of its kind in Pakistan, which was
damaged in the bad weather. Hence, it has been shifted to the beach.
He said that Emaar signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to initiate development at the twin islands and it
had not rolled back any project in Pakistan. However, the company has not given a date for the resumption of work.

On the other hand, Shah, head of the fishermen organization, said it is their protest which made Emaar change its mind. He
vowed their struggle would continue on the issue. ―We are the owners. We reject their ownership. Until government
announces such a policy, out struggle will continue,‖ Shah said.
He called the ownership claims by the Sindh government and the federal government ‗noora kushti‘ (staged wrestling
match). ―After our pressure, the Sindh chief minister and governor came into action.
They did not raise any objection when the summary was being prepared. They were silent at that time. But after the
pressure, they wanted to show their support and appear prominent in all of this,‖ said Shah.
(By Shahid Shah, The News-20, 02/12/2007)



                             Major Asian cities face risk of catastrophic floods
PARIS, Dec 4: Asia‘s massive delta cities have most to fear from catastrophic storm floods driven by climate change,
according to an OECD report published here on Tuesday.

Of 136 port cities assessed around the world for their exposure to once-in-a-century coastal flooding, 38 per cent are in
Asia and 27 per cent are located in deltas, the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development said.

Publication of the report coincided with an 11-day UN conference in
Bali, Indonesia, aimed at shaping a long-term response to the
climate peril.

Today, around 40 million people around the world are exposed to
coastal flooding in large port cities, according to the report.

The top 10 cities most at risk, in terms of exposed population, are
Mumbai, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Miami, Ho Chi Minh City, Kolkata,
Greater New York, Osaka-Kobe, Alexandria and New Orleans.

The total value of assets exposed in the 136 port cities analysed is
$3,000 billion -- or around five per cent of the global gross domestic
product (GDP) in 2005, it says.

Miami, Greater New York, New Orleans, Osaka-Kobe, Tokyo,
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Nagoya, Tampa-St. Petersburg (Florida)
and Virginia Beach (Virginia) are the most valuable pieces of real
estate at risk.

By the 2070s, the total population exposed could more than triple, to
around 150 million people. Of the ―Top-10‖ most exposed coastal
cities in 2070, nine are in Asia.

The 10 are: Kolkata, Mumbai, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Bangkok, Rangoon, Miami and Haiphong
(Vietnam).

The total value of assets exposed by the 136 cities in the 2070s is put at $35 trillion, or nine per cent of projected global
annual GDP.

Ranked according to assets exposed to flooding, the 2070 list is headed by Miami, Guangzhou, Greater New York, Kolkata,
Shanghai, Mumbai, Tianjin (China), Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

―Climate change is already happening, and concerted action is needed now to prevent its worst impacts,‖ said OECD
secretary-general Angel Gurria, noting the Dec 3-14 Bali meeting.
―A range of economic policy options is available and political commitment is needed to implement them.‖

The report was authored by OECD experts working with scientists from Britain‘s University of Southampton, US company
Risk Management Solutions and France‘s Meteo-France and Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research
(CIRED).

Their assessment projects the damage that would be caused by an extreme but very rare weather event -- a combination of
storm surge and high winds that, in purely statistical terms, occurs once a century.
(Dawn-1, 05/12/2007)

                                                             27
                       SHC hears Naimatullah’s petition against park conversion
The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) to produce a record of the affected who
were allotted plots adjacent to Taj Mahal Park in Nazimabad.
The court was hearing the petition of former City Nazim Naimatullah Khan against conversion of Taj Mahal Park‘s status by
the CDGK for residential purposes.

The petitioner submitted that plot ST-5 measuring six acres was commonly known as Taj Mahal Park but it had been
misused and illegal construction was being carried out for residential purposes.

The Naazir of the court also submitted in his report that bifurcation of 86 small plots had been made at land in question and
construction work was being carried out.

The CDGK‘s Additional District Officer Mohammad Afzal submitted that the area was lying vacant as a wasteland and the
same been allocated to the affected by an authority in 1993. He prayed the court to dismiss the petition as non-
maintainable.

The SHC‘s division bench comprising Justice Munib Ahmed Khan and Justice Rana Mohammad Shamim, adjourning the
matter to December 12, directed CDGK‘s counsel to produce documents in which government allocated the plots to the
affected in 1993.

Bail granted: Meanwhile, another SHC‘s division bench comprising Justice Yasmeen Abbasey and Justice Syed Mehmood
Alam Rizvi granted bail to an accused in the Alliance Motors scam.

Haji Mohammad Sultan was arrested by NAB on April 28, 2003, on charges of misappropriation of Rs15 million in Alliance
Silk Mills and making transactions regarding transfers of properties of Alliance Motors‘ directors.
(The News-14, 06/12/2007)



                                     ‘Diamond Bar Island City happening’
KARACHI: Caretaker Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Dr Fahimuddin Ansari has said that the government is fully
committed to establishing the Diamond Bar Island City and the matters relating to it would soon be resolved.

Talking to the media during a visit to Port Qasim on Saturday, the minister said most of the confrontations over this project
were not genuine as they were politically motivated. He said that the project would bring in Foreign Direct Investment worth
43 billion rupees.

Fahimuddin said that the issue of connectivity had still to be addressed to make Gwadar port functional by 2010 and
studies were underway to plan a fourth port in the country.

PQA Chairman Rear Admiral Syed Afzal said that disputes over the project were being settled in time. To question about
the resettlement of the potentially displaced residents of the islands, the chairman said it was a matter for the Sindh
government.

He added that the recently imported Dutch dredger would work for a week to deepen the PQ‘s depth to 45 meters.
(DailyTimes-B1, 09/12/2007)



                                              Beach-front project
                                         No environmental clearance yet
KARACHI, Dec 9: A Gulf-based firm is flouting the country‘s laws as it has floated a project for the development of a
commercial district on reclaimed land in the DHA‘s Phase-VIII without acquiring the mandatory environmental clearances
from the government, it has been learnt.

According to sources associated with the project, the developers have reclaimed about 108 acres of land along the Arabian
Sea for establishing, among other facilities, residential and commercial apartments in phases.
―We have a master plan approved by the DHA for the project, which is the first of its kind in the city providing breathtaking
sea views from every turn. All legalities, including environmental assessments, have been met and the project has been
opened to the public today (Dec 9) for the reservation of residential apartments numbering over 4,000‖, a source said in
reply to queries.

However, senior government officials in the federal and provincial governments maintained that neither the firm in question
nor the DHA had approached them so far or applied for the issuance of any NOCs in regard to the project.

Section 12 of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997 and the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pepa)
review of the IEE/EIA Regulations 2000 requires that every new development project in Pakistan has to be preceded by an
initial environmental examination (IEE) or environmental impact assessment (EIA) depending on the size and severity of
impact anticipated at the commissioning of the project.

The IEE/EIA mandates the proponent to comply with the government regulations and minimise the negative impact on the
environment as far as possible.

After receiving detailed reports prepared from the scientific, micro-environmental, macro-environmental, social and
economic points of view, the environmental protection agency concerned holds public hearings and frames a set of
environmental management plans and guidelines on mitigation measures for the proponent, if the government agency
clears the project submitted to it.

                                                            28
‘Proceedings not necessary’
When contacted, Brig (retd) Javed Ashraf, the DHA‘s Director Special Projects, said that the Defence Housing Authority
had already got an environmental assessment done through reputed consultants in the case of the waterfront under its
jurisdiction, and as such, he did not deem EIA proceedings necessary for the project in question featuring high and mid-rise
towers for residential and commercial use.

DHA spokesperson Col (retd) Rafat Naqvi said that the project is being carried out on land given by the DHA and it was
understood that it would remain environmentally viable at every stage in the future.
―We have also taken into confidence the stakeholders and acquired clearances for the beach-front activities with the
objective that these will, in return, not only bring in some money needed for the authority‘s existing infrastructure but would
also add value to area‖, he said.

However, Pepa‘s Director Monitoring Zia-ul-Islam told this reporter that the project in question very much required scrutiny
by the government agency before its launching.

‘Proceedings required’
―The EIA proceedings are required to be conducted by the environmental agencies of the government only and such power
has not been delegated to any other organisation or land controlling authority in the country‖, he said.

The Director-General of the Sindh Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), Abdul Malik Ghauri, said that the developers of
the beach-front project, who, surely, must be aware of international standards and best environmental practices, should
have met the EIA formality prior to inviting the public‘s participation in the project.
He said that no EIA report has so far been received by Sepa from the proponents of the project, which was a violation of
environmental laws.

An environmental expert and former deputy director of Sepa, Shahid Lutfi, said that there were a lot of things which needed
to be considered before launching of any development project.

―At a time when the sea is already under threat of environmental degradation, conservationists have expressed concern
over the state of the waste disposal system, energy base, drinking water supply and treatment and recycling of water and
the overall physical, social and biological environment of projects, particularly when these are in the coastal areas or along
the sea-front of cities‖, he noted.

He was of the view that the project in question should have gone through the regulatory process and the EIA should have
been conducted as per the laws of the country, which, in return, would help generate confidence in the public investors and
other stakeholders. ―The project has been planned at a spectacular location and as such, its executers should make sure
that the sea-front or sea water is not polluted at any stage‖, the environmentalist pointed out.
(By Mukhtar Alam, Dawn-13, 10/12/2007)



                                   CDGK fails to mark public meeting areas
KARACHI, Dec 10: With only a few days left in the commencement of election campaigns by political parties, the city
government has failed to identify 18 places in as many towns of the metropolis where parties could hold public meetings.
Like everywhere else in the country, the election campaign in Karachi will officially begin on Dec 15, the last date of
withdrawal of nomination papers, and end 48 hours before the day of polling ie Jan 8, 2008.

According to the election commission‘s final code of conduct for political parties and contesting candidates for the general
election, any party or candidate may inform the local administration of the venue and time of any proposed meeti ng at least
24 hours in advance so that police can make necessary traffic and security arrangements.

Sources in the provincial home department told Dawn that the city government had been asked to identify at least one
place in each town for holding public meetings keeping in view the fact that the designated sites might not disturb the peace
of the surrounding areas.

A list of proposed places had been sought by the home department so that it could finalise it after consultation with police
and agencies as it felt that a charged political situation called for exercising maximum caution to ensure safety and security
of candidates as well as the general public, the sources said.

In this regard, the sources said, the home department had sent a letter on Nov 30 to the Karachi District Coordination
Officer who in turn directed the Executive District Officer (Revenue) to identify such places in consultation with his
subordinates and town municipal officers.

As part of holding general elections in the city, the EDO Revenue was designated as a focal person so that he could closely
coordinate with the district returning officers, the law enforcing agencies and other organisations. However, the city
government has not identified the places for public meetings so far despite the written request made by the home
department on Nov 30.

Expressing annoyance over a delay in the finalisation of what some officials called a very important task, the DCO directed
the authorities concerned to complete and submit to him the final list at the earliest.

A source in the city government told Dawn that the authorities were trying to allocate two places in thickly -populated towns
to avoid any possible confrontation between the contesting parties on the issue of permission for holding public meetings.

It was also stated that no political party or individual would be allowed to hold public meetings at places other than those
marked for this purpose. Holding of meetings or rallies on main streets, roads and roundabouts would not be permitted in
order to avoid traffic jams and public inconvenience. However, a candidate may hold corner meetings in his/her
constituency after getting prior permission from the local administration, added the source.
(By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque, Dawn-17, 11/12/2007)

                                                             29
                                        SAHIL BACHAO TEHREEK
                                  Whatever happened to saving the beach?
The representatives of civil society have stressed on organising more walks against the privatisation of the Clifton Beach.
They have also stressed on taking steps which can motivate the common people to participate in such events whole-
heartedly.

Sometime back, the residents of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), along with some representatives of the civil society
organised two walks against the DHA Waterfront Project. These walks were organised under the banner of the ―Sahil
Bachao Tehreek‖.

After this, the enthusiasm fizzled out with the result that the privatisation of the beach was not followed up. When the
coordinator of Sahil Bachao Tehreek, Abira Ashfaq was contacted, she said that currently no activity was in the pipeline in
this regard. However, she said that the group which had taken an initiative still exists and the chances of its reactivation
cannot be denied.

She said that many members of the team of the Sahil Bachao Tehreek had been involved in the issue of Sugar Land City
and a new coalition has been formed which has been called Dhartee. This is the main reason behind the lacklustre
developments regarding the Sahil Bachao Tehreek. Nevertheless, it is disconcerting to note the almost non-existent
movement against the ban on Clifton beach.

An official of the DHA who chose to remain anonymous said that currently no construction regarding the DHA waterfront is
underway. He said that no construction will be done in this regard on those parts of the beach where the general public
visits for recreation.

Dr Syed Haroon Ahmed, the founding member of the Tehreek, said that more consistency and continuity is needed
regarding the campaign, which is not happening at the moment. ―I think that this issue should once again be taken up,‖ he
said. He said that the Sindh High Court also issued a verdict which maintained that the general public should have access
to the beach.

Dr Ahmed added that during the walk, pamphlets were distributed among the masses who will be directly affected when the
project materialises.

The Chairman, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Muhammad Ali Shah has a different point of view regarding the
campaign. ―The campaign was limited to the elite of the city and thos e sections of society that are actually affected by this
project were not mobilised,‖ he said. He said that such campaigns will succeed only when the common man will participate
in such activities.

He said that a little while back, Gizri was considered an area of the fishermen. But now these fishermen have become
prisoners within the DHA. He said that the fishermen had a jetty at the place where Marina Club is situated and they would
anchor their boats over there. Sadly, that is hardly the case now. Shah said that fishermen are not allowed to fish now at
the part of the beach where the Crescent Bay Project is in progress.

He added that 35 years ago, the water of the coastal belt of Karachi was known as the ―blue water‖. ―As kids, we would
throw a coin in the water and then retrieve it because the water was crystal clear,‖ he recalled.
He said that domestic waste of the DHA is being dropped into the sea with the result that the blue water has now turned
black. Shah said that the Clifton Beach is the most affordable recreation spot for poor people. He said that projects like the
DHA Waterfront will deprive these people from enjoying the natural beauty of the sea without spending a penny.

The DHA Waterfront is planned over a stretch of 14 kilometres from Sindbad (Old Casino) up to the Golf Course.

The plan divides the coastline into seven distinct zones (A to G). It envisages high-rise commercial buildings, complexes,
food courts, cinemas, amusement parks, a five-star hotel, an underwater world with a Dolphin Park and aquarium,
amphitheatre complex with a capacity of 6,000 people and water sports facilities.
(By Qadeer Tanoli, The News-19, 12/12/2007)



                                   Sepa permits oil exploration in park area
KARACHI, Dec 12: The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued an NOC to the Oil and Gas
Development Company to carry out work in an ecologically sensitive and protected area without following the prescribed
rules, it is learnt. Sources said the OGDC planned to carry out 2-D seismic activities in Thano Beg Block, which overlaps
the protected area, the Khirthar National Park, in Jamshoro district.

Under the relevant rules, Sepa has to organise a public hearing regarding any project being undertaken in a protected area
and set up a committee of experts, which reviews the project qualitatively and decides whether the NOC is to be issued.
The sources said that under the normal procedure, after the committee was formed its members discussed the issue at a
few meetings and the committee members were also taken on site visits to see the ground conditions and, if they wanted,
to meet local communities before reaching at a decision.

The sources said that in the OGDC‘s case this procedure was not followed, which was a violation of Rule 11 of the
Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Review of the Initial Environmental Examination and Environmental Impact
Assessment Regulations 2000.

The sources said Sepa had for a long time been suffering from a shortage of technically-qualified staff as almost all
technical people had left their posts for a variety of reasons — some have resigned, some are on long leave, while many
others just do not come to work — which has created a technical vacuum in Sepa, the executive arm of the government
through which it is supposed to implement the environmental protection laws, seriously affecting its working.


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Explaining the shortage of technical people, the sources said Sepa director-general Abdul Malik Ghauri had a degree in the
English language and did not have any environment-related educational background though the rules demand that he
should either have a doctorate or a postgraduate degree in environmental engineering and several years of experience in
the relevant field.

Similarly, director Kiran Nauman is a former schoolteacher and was inducted into the Sindh Employees Social Security
Institution (Sessi) during the ban on employment period in BPS 18 and then within a short time she was brought in, on
deputation, to Sepa in BPS 19. She also does not have the required education qualifications — a postgraduate degree in
environmental engineering and necessary experience in the relevant field.

They said that the third relevant person for reviewing the environmental-impact assessment process was the deputy
director (EIA) and the person holding that charge, Naeem Mughal, technically qualified for a change, is on medical leave.
The post is currently held by an intern employee, which in itself is an illegality.

The sources said that in the absence of qualified people it had become even more important that a committee of experts,
as required by the rules, was formed to evaluate the project and to take a decision. But this route was not taken and the
decision to issue the NOC was taken by the non-technical director-general in haste, within a few days after the public
hearing was held.

The sources said that some time ago when a multinational oil exploration company was granted such a permission for the
area encompassing the Khirthar National Park, a long exercise of EIA etc was undertaken before the Sepa permission.
However, this time no such procedure was adopted and the Sepa DG issued the NOC to the OGDC to begin work.

One of the largest national parks in the country, the KNP is ecologically a highly-sensitive area and houses many rare and
endangered species of fauna and flora. It was the first national park of the country to be listed in the UN‘s list of protect ed
areas. It was established to provide protection to the rare species of Sindh Ibex and Urial.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 13/12/2007)



                                  More parks and recreational spots planned
The City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal has said that besides developing huge parks, the City District Government Karachi
(CDGK) has also taken up the construction of family parks at in the areas to provide cheap and quality recreational facilities
to citizens near their homes.

The government has so far developed over 4,238 acres of land into parks and gardens while another big project of the
River Valley Park will be built at Malir River Belt.
This he said while talking to the Executive Director, United Nations Associations of Pakistan (UNAP), Fauzia Tariq in his
office on Wednesday. The Chairman Saddar Town Parks Committee Imran Mirza and Tariq Iqbal were also present on this
occasion.

Kamal said that all these measures were meant to make Karachi cleaner and green. Area level committees have been
formed to take care of these parks and to coordinate with the city government in managing the facilities provided to these
recreational places.
He said that city government wants to work in coordination with the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), welfare
associations and other agencies to create awareness among the masses regarding the protection of plants and trees.

Kamal also directed Director Parks City Government Liaquat Ali Kan to arrange for a detailed briefing to the association
regarding the construction of parks and gardens in Karachi.

Fauzia Tariq informed Kamal that their association would extend full cooperation to the CDGK. Tariq added that the UNAP
will launch a large-scale awareness campaign with regard to the preservation and protection of parks, recreational spots
and government assets.

These campaigns will begin with the arrival of the new year while specialised programmes to create awareness will be held
in educational institutions. Tariq assured that support from the print and electronic media will be sought to provide
maximum coverage to such development projects.
(The News-20, 13/12/2007)



                                      Interchange, family park inaugurated
KARACHI, Dec 15: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan said on Saturday that no decision had been taken to suspend the
local government system before the January 8 general election.
―Yes, there is a proposal (to suspend the local governments) but so far no decision has been taken,‖ he said while talking to
reporters after inaugurating the Sohrab Goth Interchange.

The suspension of the LG system is a persistent demand of the opposition parties, particularly the Pakistan People‘s Party,
which feels that the elected nazims are in a position to influence the forthcoming elections in their respective localities by
utilising government resources and police. He, however, parried more questions on the issue.

Earlier, the governor inaugurated a family park in Korangi, which is spread over 15 acres and has cost of Rs30 million.

The governor was accompanied by City Nazim Mustafa Kamal and Karachi District Coordination Officer Javed Hanif.

Referring to the Sohrab Goth Interchange, he congratulated the city government for completing the project within stipulated
time and said the project was another gift to the people of the metropolis.



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He said Sohrab Goth was one of the biggest choking points of the city, where traffic jams had become a daily routine.
However, with the completion of this project the exit and entry points of the city had become signal-free while the entrance
to the city had also been made beautiful and this would also improve the traffic flow inside the city, he added.
He said the city government had completed the project despite several hurdles, including delay in the release of funds on
time.

Earlier, the governor unveiled the plaque of the Sohrab Goth flyover at a simple ceremony.
He was briefed that the work to build the interchange was started in 2005 and completed in two years at a total cost of
Rs579 million.

The interchange comprises two four-lane bridges, one underpass, three loops, four left turns and two U-turns. The
stormwater drainage has also been installed.
He was informed that the estimated volume of traffic at the Sohrab Goth interchange was 200,000 vehicles per day. The
main bridge is 95 metres long with 14.4 metres breadth on the F. B Area side and 15.4 metres on the Sohrab Goth side.
(Dawn-17, 16/12/2007)



                 Governor inaugurates Sohrab Goth flyover, family park in Korangi
The suspension of local governments before the general elections is under consideration; a final decision, however, is still
pending, Sindh Governor Dr Ishtarul Ibad Khan said Saturday after the inauguration of the Sohrab Goth flyo ver. City Nazim
Mustafa Kamal, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Javed Hanif Khan and other senior officials were also present.

Sohrab Goth was the biggest traffic bottlenecks in the city, and traffic jams had become a regular feature here, Khan said,
adding that with the construction of a flyover and an underpass there the entire corridor had become signal-free, thus
improving the flow of traffic.

The project was started in 2005 and was completed in two years with a total cost of Rs 579 million. The interchange
comprises two four-lane flyovers, one underpass, three loops, four left turns and two U-turns. A storm water drainage
system has also been installed.

The main bridge has a length of 95 metres, and a breadth of 14.4 metres on the F.B Area side, a nd 15.4 metres on the
Sohrab Goth side. The four ascending and descending ramps would be used to facilitate the traffic at Rashid Minhas Road
and Shahra-e-Waliullah at North Karachi side while 3 more loops have been added at Allama Iqbal School Rashid Minhas
Road, Shahra-e-Pakistan adjacent to Fire Brigade Station and Shahra-e-Waliullah adjacent to T&C Workshop. The project
also included 4 left turns at Allama Iqbal School, Rashid Minhas Road, from Shahra-e-Pakistan to Shahra-e-Waliullah near
Fire Brigade Station, from Shahra-e-Waliullah to Sohrab Goth Side and at Allama Iqbal School Gulshan-e-Ameen side. The
two U-turns have been given at Rashid Minhas Road and Shahra-e-Waliullah Road side.

The underpass has been constructed from Shahra-e-Waliullah to Shahra-e-Pakistan at Allama Iqbal Road side.

Ebad, Kamal inaugurate family park: The Sindh governor and the city nazim inaugurated a 15-acre family park in Korangi
no. 5 on Sunday. The project cost a total of Rs 30 million.

The park must be maintained properly, otherwise the entire project would end up being a waste of time, with no benefit to
the public, Khan said.

‗CDGK has taken control of big parks‘: City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal has said that the city government has taken over
the responsibility of maintenance and preservation of all big parks since the town administrations did not have resources to
manage and maintain these parks constructed by CDGK.
He briefed the Sindh governor Sindh regarding the affairs of parks and playgrounds after the inaugurat ion of a family park
in Korangi on Saturday.
(The News-14, 16/12/2007)




DAWN REVIEW
                                            What price development?
Karachi‘s shoreline measures almost 135 kilometres, embracing various
beaches within its fold. The view at a glance from the Clifton side of the
seashore is a mix of nostalgia and distaste.

For some the memories are still fresh when not-so-long-ago the sands at the
Karachi beaches were so pristine and smooth that the sensation of walking
on them was relaxing. The sea breeze would provide the perfect setting for
convalescents and the rush of the white foamy waves would become a
backdrop for romance. But now the harbour front greets us with a foul smell
and the beach has black waves and squalid sands. Whereas the serenity of
the deep sea once calmed frazzled nerves, the filth and garbage waste now
crudely jar the senses.


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Furthermore, amid this filth and refuse of human activity spread out on the oil drenched shores, there is more now
garishness present. It is clearly visible that land reclamation is proceeding at a swift pace, a sign of ecological upset and
nature‘s rape. The activity seen is connected to the multi-billion-dollar, Waterfront Development Project, part of a very
ambitious plan undertaken by a Middle East construction company.

The company‘s promotional campaign gloriously presents Karachi as the second largest port city ‗built upon the nation‘s
strong growth rate to become the economic heart of the country…‘ Touting it as the ‗long known gateway to Asia,‘ it
glamourises Karachi‘s waterfront as a ‗great opportunity for the people of Pakistan to build a new and dynamic city with a
sustainable development plan where imaginative architecture combines with world class planning for a whole new
beginning…‘

Once, when the sun would set in Karachi, the sunset could be seen from the entire shoreline around Clifton till the very end
when the burning glob would dip into the sea, bathing the water in burnished hues, stretching almost endlessly. Now, the
newly constructed wall around the beach obstructs the vision of even those walking along the road on Sea View. And this is
but a small example of other far worse intrusions that are in store for Karachi‘s beach going public (amounting to thousands
over the weekend) when the ‗Beachfront development‘ gets fully underway.

The ruthless plans have duly been sanctioned and are going ahead as planned, negating all concerns voiced by Karachi‘s
planners, architects and environmentalists. As per reports, the DHA will be constructing theme parks, marinas, expo
centres, expensive hotels, and condominiums on the 14 km of beach area between McDonalds and the Golf Club in
Defence phase VIII.

This project is called, ‗Crescent Bay‘ and is being undertaken by Emaar, a construction firm — incidentally the same firm
given the contract to develop Buddu and Bhundar islands. However, the Crescent Bay project on a portion of the 135km
shoreline of Karachi, is just a minuscule portion of the grand plan. Further ambitions of development include large ‗zones‘
along Karachi‘s coast which have also received sanction from the highest office.

A copy of a memo issued by the Prime Minister‘s secretariat following a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and all
stakeholders of the project in April 2006, verifies that the PM had taken numerous decisions to facilitate the investment plan
of a UAE construction and development firm. The construction firm gave the proposal to develop Karachi‘s coastal area in
phases.

Indicating the actions to be taken by the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, the Ministry of Defence and the Government of
Sindh, decisions were also made at the time to develop the island of Manora area in conjunction with Sandspit and the area
behind it in the KPT‘s western backwaters up to KPT‘s land limits with Hawkesbay. This was to be offered to the Group. It
was also decided at the same meeting that Manora Island be vacated by all agencies and handed over to KPT for the
development programmes. The vacated agencies — which include the Cantonment and three strategic Naval bases
besides KPT offices — were to be given alternate accommodation and office blocks on Cape Monz island, west of Manora.

Construction of a five-star resort on Manora has been planned with a bridge to be built linking Manora and its resort with
Clifton. While reports published last year in the media had indicated that the Navy was agreeable in shifting its strategic
installations and handing over the island, Brigadier Syed Jamshed Zaidi, General Manager Planning and Development KPT
had voiced his doubts saying, ―At this point the issue is dormant. The Prime Minister had initially liked the suggestion given
by Nakheel, a subsidiary of Dubai World, (which built the all famous man-made islands and resorts in Dubai that go by the
name of ‗The Palm‘ and ‗The World‘ and acclaimed as the most ambitious reclamation projects in the world), of converting
Manora into a resort. The matter, however, now rests with the Chief Secretary Sindh.‖

While no further movement has been seen with regard to developing the strategic base of Manora, the two other projects
simultaneously proposed have gone into the second phase and are being fully implemented. Hence, the fear is that even
Manora will be compromised since the PM has been so keen on the issue.

In the 2020 Master plan for Karachi, a set of rules for land use has been
given irrespective of who owns the land. This has facilitated development
work to a great extent, especially for the city government whose usual
emphasis centres on adding ‗historic landmarks‘ to their list of achievements.
The ground reality is that most of their ‗mega projects‘ begun last year have
either been left incomplete or have been ruined soon after completion.

The obsession of turning Karachi into Dubai has become a mania with our
government and its ruling ‗allies‘. The development plans for Karachi‘s
waterfront include astronomical figures of investment. A US$68billion project
is another venture being undertaken at the seafront which is called
‗Sugarland City‘ and which is by far the most ambitious project. This budget — which exceeds the total outlay of the federal
budget and the entire country‘s development budget many times over — is allocated for the development of 25,000
hectares of land including 60,000acres at Hawkesbay.

City Nazim, Mustafa Kamal had asserted that an NOC has been obtained for the project and the President had approved
the plan which would be the biggest project undertaken by the country and which is now also at the implementation stage.

Sugarland City, which is being handled by a foreign, a construction group, will initially include the development of 2000
hectares in its first phase. This includes prime waterfront property west of Karachi including Hawkesbay and reaching out
towards the backwaters, encompassing mangroves and skirting around the turtle beaches. The futuristic city visualises
three man-made islands, a new breakwater and countless bridges to link the constructed area providing easy access by
state-of-the art transport facilities besides many other ultra-modern amenities.

The plans are so fantastic that they seem far-fetched and impossible. But since the construction work is soon to begin there
must be some reality in this rather dream-like vision of a future city to be built at the cost of ecological destruction, say
environmentalists who have been crying out against the havoc that will be wreaked on the turtle beaches and the turtles
hatching/life cycle.


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While the streets of urban Karachi remain soaked with rainwater weeks after rainfall, it is well nigh impossible to imagine
any such scenario for the future which includes a seamless transport network and road system. And then there is the
crucial objection of the security being compromised at the altar of development since a large part of the to -be-developed
area has been a strategic security area for hundreds of years.

The whole plan is more outrageous and bizarre than laudable (if that‘s what the government is hoping) and it is difficult to
give it moral sanction. But when documentation is present to show approvals (not to mention eagerness) for all these
fantastic ideas, these schemes cannot be brushed off as just dreams envisaged by the witless.

If one were to discount for a moment the ecological fallout of such mass scale development and the ensuing marine life
erosion due to land reclamation, it is difficult to even add the numbers. A fantasy island for US$68 billion? Who is it for?

The people of Karachi are too busy dealing with their electricity and water problems while trudging on broken roads. So are
we soon going to see ‗legal aliens‘ in our neighbourhood sporting greenbacks? If the conspiracy analysts are to be
believed, that is supposedly the obvious answer.
(By Maheen A. Rashdi, Dawn-The Review, 23/08/2007)




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