Safi Ullah Shahwani
Among many other qualities that distinguish man from animals is the quality of planning for future. To plan, indubitably, is to prepare for future or try to order future in a desired way. Therefore, high powered bodies and planning commissions are set up by the governments across the globe to plan for future and to have a leverage over the unfolding events. Planning is as much essential in individual life as in group. However, planning requires skills both at individual and national life. A person or a nation, devoid of deciphering the present opportunities and threats, hidden in time and space may not be able to plan despite a desire in place. This risk of failure, in terms of planning, teaches how important an educated and thorough evaluation of the circumstances is for planning to order things in a desired way. Consultation, expert opinion, estimates, evaluation and homework are all process through which planning process is made all the more exact, if not absolute.
Although the planning process may be a cumbersome one but those who involve in it reap its fruits which may be counted as peace, prosperity, development and advancement in science and technology. Contrarily, hunger, disease, violence and miseries of all sorts find their permanent abode in the homes of such individuals and nations who either do not plan, ill-plan or lack the will to plan.
Our beloved city Quetta is one such manifestation of either lack of planning or victim of ill planning which has increased the incidences of violent behavior among the dwellers of this poor city. Every now and then, if you are a keen observer, your sight will not miss exchange of verbal violence in public places, at marketplace, in mosques, on roads, in parks, at police stations, at hospitals, in public offices, at colleges, at schools, at Provincial Assembly, at District Council, at religious seminaries, at houses, in functions, and wherever men and women exist to cut the story short. To begin with, Quetta city is facing a looming threat of running short of drinking water and during a recent hearing on the water crisis at Karachi’s Supreme Court Registry, a former WAPDA chief told the sitting chief justice that people may have to migrate from Quetta soon due to shortage of drinking water. Such a situation is indeed not far from reality as in recent times we have seen the South African city of Cape Town facing circumstances as warned.
Chronic Water Shortage
What went missing in planning for future by the authorities at the helm includes, firstly, the irrational water mining. It doesn’t require an Einstein to figure out how irrationally the authorities concerned have allowed water mining in the city where tube-wells are installed almost after every few yards sucking aquifers much faster than their refill. Hence, this myopia caused the underground aquifers dry which dropped the water level drastically. Secondly, the experts of agriculture and forestry would testify that Quetta and its adjacent districts are suitable for dry fruit plants which consume lesser water than the apple trees which require a lot of water comparatively. Government never bothered to pay heed on growers and orchard owners as to what they grew and what suited the climate of this city. Hence, Quetta ended up being encircled by apple orchards. Thirdly, the irrigation methods in Quetta are again faulty which wasted and continue to waste water. World has shifted from flood irrigation to drip and sprinkle irrigation methods which save water and also promote responsible agriculture but growers in and around Quetta still use the flood irrigation methods which waste a lot of water. Fourthly, general public has never been educated, sensitised, provided alternatives to use water judiciously and hence public use drinking water in washrooms, for car-wash and other multiple such purpose which otherwise could finely be met with recycled water.
Unchecked Migration in Quetta
Further, the unchecked in-migration to the city has almost doubled its population rising its water demands to unexpected levels. This lack of planning or ill-planning by the jockeys of this city has not only plunged it into an irreversible crisis but has also added to the violent behaviours of its dwellers. Fighting for water are common place sights in Quetta be it in streets, at offices, at government colonies or at agricultural lands.
Poorly Managed Traffic
In addition, vehicular traffic jams have become an eyesore in Quetta. The Municipal Corporation perhaps does not exist in the city. There may be other planned cities in Pakistan but Quetta is nothing more than a huge slum. Narrow roads, mushroom growth of commercial building-cum-hospitals in sheer violence of building code have made it difficult to breath. Entire city doesn’t have a single junction where traffic signals are in order. The play of lust and greed have added more than 50 thousand rickshaws to the narrow roads of the city. Due to lack of a decent public transport service, every second individual owns a bike or a car with complete disregard to the carrying capacity of the roads. Result. Violence and psychological issues. Exchange of violent words, expressions and in many cases fists and scuffle are new normal in the city.
Moreover, urban and town planning are as alien concepts as a monkey on the moon. Narrow streets with gushing sewerage line and foul smell on most of the streets, with exception of some commercial housing schemes, have made life difficult for the common man whereas the waste management system too doesn’t seem to be an effective one despite claims by the Municipal Corporation of introducing a processing plant to recycle the plastic produced daily in Quetta. A cursory glance is enough to establish how the non-degradable waste in the city lays around and sometimes burned around to add toxics in the already toxified and polluted air.
Problems Leading to Violence
Consequently, all this mismanagement, lack of planning or ill-planning has negative impact on the behaviour of the masses which increase the situations such as hypertension, blood pressure issues, allergies, and infections of various kinds. Unable to cope up with plethora of such social and physical ailments, common men grow violent in their approach towards solution of even petty problems. Incidences of domestic violence by the heads of families, children’s corporal punishment by teachers, child abuse cases, security men’s breach of their constitutional obligations and slapping common citizenry the road, doctor’s rash behaviour with patients at hospitals, politicians foul verbal attacks on each other in legislative assembly or any other manifestation of violence may be a moral crisis but it definitely has either a direct or indirect link with the lack of planning or ill-planning.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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