Articles of the year 2005

Of Tall Buildings and Taller tales
Published on May 09th, 2005

The latest scam that is surfacing is the tallest building scheduled to be built on reclaimed land near the Oil Terminal. The entire saga has all the ingredients of a Pink Panther Movie. The cast includes an Arab Prince who refuses to show any balance sheet. A nonagenarian who some feel has not done enough for his country, or to put it his way, that the country has not done enough for him.. The KPT who having successfully managed to spill the largest amount of oil on the choicest Beach front in Karachi whose damage is still being calculated in the Billions---- of $, now feel that their management skills should be gainfully employed in building underpasses--- that are designed not to allow a right turn. Luckily for us Karachiites, the citizens headed by their leading columnist made enough of a noise to have the design redone in the nick of time. Strike two for the citizens. Strike one being the stoppage of the US Consulate building next to the KGS and to be relocated at a spot with a lesser nuisance value.

After their spectacular oil spill, which had half the residents of the Ritzy Defense Housing area being evacuated because of the noxious fumes, the management of the Port decided that they needed a rabbit to show their competence and control. What better than to present to the President a tallest building in Pakistan and a highest fountain in the region, to match Geneva and Jeddah. Two cities which they would love to emulate if it wasn't so ludicrous. When the presentation was made one is surprised that the assemblage did not fall about laughing. Surely some member of the Board could have questioned the wisdom of these two ventures. Surely with the running of the Port are priorities such as dredging and pollution control.

Has the Port trust done enough to clean up the waters within its Port? Has the Trust managed to cut down the dumping of filthy oil in their perimeter?. The Sea water within KPT is the most polluted in the region if not the world. The days when one could catch crabs on the boats within the harbour and cook them on Board are long gone. These questions should have been raised to bring reality to the members of the board. The ecological causes and effects are well known to the children of Karachi, for it was the school children of Karachi that went to Clifton Beach and helped clean up the oil spill. They know who did what. No Fountain or skyscraper will fool them. They want the waters of Keamari cleaned up so that they can enjoy the simple pleasure that their parents enjoyed before them, not to look down at some foul brown water that is so disgusting that nothing lives within the KPT perimeter. The Chairman would be well advised to clean up his Port, and before he starts reaching for the sky he should look at the waters in the Harbour which is his prime responsibility.

Coming back to the Tallest building. Along with the tallest fountain in Asia came the tallest building in Pakistan. How was it to be funded? Enter the nonagenarian, a Pakistani, long settled in the US, but with a nose for a deal. He produces out of his many hats, an Arab Sheik, a Prince no less, who offers to fund the entire project, for a very large slice of the action. When some members of the Board asked for Bank references of the Prince, and or Balance sheets, the nonchalant reply came quickly, the Prince does not give out balance sheets. Someone should point out to the Prince that long before oil was discovered in his land, an Indian 'Prince' had been entertained by Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympics, and had given a Million Pound cheque to the Fuhrer, just before his departure back to University in the UK. Naturally Princes do not have to give bank references, so Hitler learned, and we early on in our history, that bank references do matter.

It would be advisable for the Chairman to heed the advice of columnists, and stick to his core job--- management of the Port. Efficiently, and honestly. He should leave Real estate dabbling to the speculators and the Land Mafia. For if he continues in this vein the Land Mafia may well decide to zero in on the Port Trust Land, or he may risk becoming known as one of them.