Karachi, Pakistan: A Compassionate City in the Heart of Asia
By Anil Datta
In March of 2015, the Charter for a Compassionate Karachi, an initiative aimed at restoring peace in the city and setting a foundation for all stakeholders to enable them to play their role in its development, was signed at the Mazar-e-Quaid on Sunday.
Besides government officials, scholars, journalists and civil society activists, many school, college, and university students as well as people from other walks of life attended the event.
The five points envisioned in the charter are:
- Provision of quality education to all children regardless of their background or financial means.
- Access to standard medical facilities at affordable rates.
- Clean food and water as well as sanitation facilities for all citizens with nobody having to sleep hungry or homeless,
- All laws to be respected and applied equally irrespective of the social, economic, or political status.
- Every pedestrian, worker and youth should be able to walk on the city’s streets without fear or concern for their safety
Speaking on the occasion, Karachi commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui said the day of the announcement would be a red letter day in the history of our nation for it was on this day 75 years ago that the historic Pakistan Resolution was passed and the Quaid-e-Azam presented us with the precious gift of an independent country. However, he added, somewhere we had erred and things had assumed a difficult stance. “Today, we have all gathered to realise the Quaid’s golden dream of Pakistan.”
He lauded the Karachi police, Rangers and civic agencies for playing their role in the city’s affairs to breed harmony.
Noted journalist Ghazi Salahuddin said that sadly enough, over the last few decades, Karachi had lost its harmonious character and all of us would have to endeavour to restore the city of the decades gone by.
“All religions preach that we should behave towards our fellowmen the way we like them to behave towards us,” he added. He exhorted youngsters to utilise the best years of their lives. “No doubt it is the Quaid’s city but it is also our city and as such, we have to cultivate love and harmony.”
Businessman and a social activist Amin Hashwani said another 25 years and Karachi would be the world’s largest city. “So it is for us to determine what sort of a place it will be.”
Mahshud Rizvi said that compassion entailed sympathy. “So we must learn to be sympathetic to one another.”
Pop artiste Salman Ahmed also spoke and exhorted the youth to inculcate love and harmony. Noted TV start Sajid Hassan hosted the function. The programme ended with the cutting of the ribbon by the Karachi commissioner. Later, children went one by one to sign the charter.