33 killed in Karachi violence Kamal Siddiqi, Hindustan Times Karachi, May 01, 2009
This was written during the 'Good Old Days' of General Musharraf in 2007.
Mr. Altaf Hussain [Founder of MQM], and legislators of MQM both in Federal and Provincial Governments often complain of Ill-treatment of Establishment [plesase Mr Altaf Hussain you and your party MQM are in the government and your are the part of Military Government] meted with them and they are justified [Operation Cleanup from 1992-1999] but now after 12 October 1999 MQM has been given a sigh of relief. What happened on 12 May is a history now and it is a separate debate as to whose mistake was it, leave the media and propaganda of oppostion out of it, the only question is who was incharge of Sindh Government and ally of Musharraf's Military Government in Islamabad if not MQM.
A day ago Mr. Altaf Hussain again raised the complain in a TV Channels Newsupdate [AAJ, GEO AND ARYONE] that Karachi is being ill treated as far as KESC is concerned on unabasahed load shedding. Question again is why Mr Altaf Hussain and his party leaders serving a Military Government of Mr Musharraf when the 'advices' of Mr. Altaf Hussain and his party is not being paid attention. Mr. Altaf Hussain and MQM is known to have quit the Civilian Governments of Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif on much minor issues as compare to the issues being faced by MQM now particularly the issue of 12 May 2007. You dont risk the popularity in your own base i.e. Sindh on merely a Chief Justice Rally [which could not have fetch more than 10,000 people], you dont alienate political parties which indirectly share MQM's political orientation i.e. Secular politics only on a Lawyers Rally.
The tragedy with Mr. Altaf Hussain, MQM and Military Junta is this that they violate an old prinicple of Commerce and Economy and i.e. Authority and Responsibility go together. Military Governemnt and MQM want to enjoy Authority but they the dont want to share Responsibility. MQM shares responsibility of every steps of the present Military Government because MQM is in Establishment. Same is the case of MMA [AN ALLIANCE OF RELIGIOUS PARTIES AND ALLY OF MUSHARRAF MILITARY GOVERNMENT IN BALUCHISTAN]
Read two excellent articles below to learn how?
KARACHI: Hoardings: money for officials, threat to people By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque & Azizullah Sharif
June 27, 2007 Wednesday Jamadi-us-Sani 11, 1428
KARACHI, June 26: As all land-controlling authorities in the city are involved in the lucrative business of advertising hoardings in their respective jurisdictions, they must all share equal blame for the heavy death toll caused by falling boards in the wake of Saturday’s storm. A total of 104 hoardings had fallen in Saturday’s storm and torrential rain out of which nine hoardings fell in the city government’s controlled areas and 95 in the areas controlled by other authorities, killing nine people on the spot.
Well-placed sources told Dawn that a presentation given to the top authorities of the province at a meeting held after Saturday’s calamity suggested that nine billboards fell in areas controlled by the Karachi Cantonment Board, killing three people; three boards fell in the Defence Housing Authority controlled areas, causing death of one person; 51 billboards fell in the areas controlled by the Faisal Cantonment Board though, luckily, no one was killed or injured; 12 billboards installed on the Pakistan Railway land fell; three billboards fell in the area controlled by the Station Headquarters/Army; nine hoardings fell in the Civil Aviation Authority controlled area; five billboards fell in the SITE area; and one each fell in the areas controlled by the Pakistan Rangers, the Pakistan Sports Board and the Askari Park.
At least nine hoardings fell in the city government’s jurisdiction besides many others which were bent or twisted, posing a danger to pedestrians and motorists. However, the city government claimed that only four billboards fell in its jurisdiction. Fifty-five billboards were declared dangerous and subsequently removed by the city government.
Sources said that recently the army and the city government authorities had a confrontation over the installation of a giant billboard under the FTC bridge. The army wanted to install the billboard and the city government opposed it, claiming that it had built the bridge and it was its right to generate revenue from it. However, the city government succumbed to the army pressure and withdrew its claim over the land and the hoarding was installed.
The District Officer of the city government’s local taxes department, Rehan Khan, told Dawn that the city government issued 150 permissions for billboards on rooftops and 110 on land sites. “We have no land site on Sharea Faisal. As per the city government’s policy, Sharea Faisal has been declared a signboard-free road. Before last year, we had 175 sites for billboards and we used to get over Rs12.5 million revenue. But keeping in view President Pervez Musharraf’s directives, we did not allow any advertiser to install billboards on the city government’s control portion of Sharea Faisal,” he added.
However, he conceded that besides the nine hoardings, some 55 hoardings had been bent and twisted by the storm. “Since Saturday night we have surveyed all the 260 billboards and removed 55 of them which were bent and stood precariously. As a precautionary measure, we asked the advertising companies to remove sheets or panel of their billboards till the weather conditions improve,” he said. According to CDGK rules, formulated this year, no hoarding can be installed on a greenbelt and there is a limit on the size of billboards. Besides, the advertiser has to submit a stability certificate given by a qualified engineer and a site plan before installation of any hoarding.
For instance, the CDGK’s bylaws say that a 90-foot wide and 30-foot wide billboard can only be installed on a building that is at least ground-plus-five storeys high. But such huge billboards can be spotted on ground-plus-four buildings. Similarly, billboards cannot be erected on footpaths and on the central median of roads if they block motorists’ vision. Besides, there is a specific rule that since the footpaths are meant for pedestrians, a billboard must be erected seven feet above the footpath’s surface.
However, a random visit to the city would show that the bylaws on publicity hoardings are being openly flouted by the advertising companies apparently in connivance with officials of the city government’s local taxes department, who issue permission for billboards. Admitting that illegal billboards have surpassed the number of legally ones, sources in the local taxes department say that although an advertising firm seeks permission for a single billboard for a particular site, it installs a number of billboards at different places, mentioning the number of the authorised billboard on all those billboards.
President Gen Pervez Musharraf, while taking a serious notice of the haphazard display of billboards in the city a couple of years back, had said that their mushroom growth presented an ugly sight to passers-by and that there must be a standard policy for billboards. Shortly afterwards, the Sindh governor had directed the then city nazim, Niamatullah Khan, to launch a campaign against illegal billboards. However, the campaign against the illegal billboards which was aimed at achieving the goal of bringing uniformity in the billboards’ size and making a standard policy was initially started in the former district East, but it was left halfway, reportedly on account of the pressure exerted on the city government by influential people, including senior officers of police, the army, bureaucrats and even politicians.
Sources in the city district government say that the annual turnover from hoardings ranges between Rs3 billion and Rs4 billion and influential people belonging to almost every segment of society claim their share in it. The sources say that the cantonment boards are granting permission for billboards even for those roads which are being maintained by the city government. In this regard, they mentioned Sharea Faisal, saying that although the Sindh government had notified Sharea Faisal as the city government’s road, cantonment boards are issuing permission for billboards for it.
Similarly, a number of roads in Gulistan-i-Jauhar are being built and maintained by the city government, but the cantonment board concerned has issued permission for erecting billboards on them. Quoting the Military Cantonment Act, the sources say that there is no provision of publicity advertisements in the act, and hence the CBs cannot claim publicity advertisement tax in the limits falling under the jurisdiction of municipalities. In this regard, they cite the example of Clifton’s Block 9, saying its land use is with the city government but building control is with the Clifton Cantonment Board.
Elaborating, the sources said that not only the cantonment boards but even SITE and the Pakistan Railways are allowing erection of billboards on the land falling under their jurisdiction although they, too, are not entitled to publicity advertisement tax.
Laws violated to install killer hoardings By Fahim Zaman Khan
June 27, 2007 Wednesday Jamadi-us-Sani 11, 1428
HOARDINGS have gradually taken monstrous proportions during the last 15 odd years. These outdoor advertisements were major contributors to the current rain-related death toll following Saturday’s storm. These hoardings may only weigh a ton but there is several tons of money involved in the racket and therefore an early reprieve from this issue may be wishful thinking. Outdoor advertisements are not necessarily a menace if they are controlled under regulations and their impact is not detrimental to the safety of the people, property and the environment of the surrounding area. During the early 1990s, the then Sindh chief minister, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, had constituted an aesthetic committee for the city. A sub-committee that included people like senior advertising professional S.M. Shahid worked ceaselessly to formulate by-laws for hoardings. Those recommendations and other universally accepted norms and regulations have sat in city files for more than a decade.
In 1995, the then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, issued explicit instructions to remove illegal hoardings from the streets and the KMC ran a major campaign for their removal. However, it stumbled on two counts: the station commander of the Faisal Cantonment Board confronted the KMC administration head-on during a meeting called by the then Karachi commissioner (currently principal secretary to the Sindh governor) Saleem Khan and the vested interests led by a ruling party heavyweight dressed as the president, Outdoor Advertisers’ Association (OAA).
The brigadier wanted the KMC to pay Rs500,000 for each of the hoardings removed from his area and the OAA drew guns on KMC staff at several locations, including Schon Circle. However, the massive campaign continued for several months. Advertisements in limited numbers can, if carefully designed and situated, form an attractive feature of a commercial centre. However, when they are poorly designed, unsuitably located, unduly large or too numerous, they can create visual clutter and become detrimental to the street scene.
Sensitively designed and located illuminated displays can lend a sense of vitality to the streets, but there is a danger that they can detract from amenity or become traffic hazards if they distract drivers.
In residential areas, advertisements should be permitted only in the most exceptional circumstances. Any outdoor advertisement must be kept clean, tidy and in a safe condition. It requires the permission of the owner and other users of the land. The sign should not obscure or attract attention from any official or safety signage. In case of unduly large hoardings, permission or consent should only be given by the city authorities or the other landowning agencies ie the six cantonment boards, the KPT, Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan Railways, Site or the DHA provided that the hoarding and its structure would at least withstand the international benchmark wind velocities of over 120 kilometres per hour or 75mph. These have been prescribed under the ‘Unified Building By-laws’ for structural safety features in respect of natural hazard by way of earthquake, cyclone and other forces of nature for buildings and other structures allowed to be put-up in an urban environment. It should also be mandatory that the hoardings are erected in areas devoid of general human activity, power-lines, and/or any other property so that in case of a structural failure, the damage remains minimal. Such stringent regulations and controls should condemn these monstrosities to waste expenses of the Super Highway, National Highway or alongside some future motorway instead of every intersection within our municipal boundaries.
There also has to be a role of the Karachi Building Control Authority to ensure structural integrity and town-planning references. Unfortunately, someone currently looking after the abattoirs could well be soon transferred and made responsible for outdoor advertisements in the city.