Dear Zaffar Abbas Sahib,
Reporting by DAWN on 8th April of our protest in front of CBC is inaccurate with misplaced priorities totally ignoring the main points.
Public offices cannot be closed down for two days while hundreds of people are left floundering outside even those who need death certificates and burial places for those who died. The protesters were non-violent for the second day running. We again on the second day asked CBC to open the main gate. An elected councillor Adeeba Arif was locked in and not allowed to come out also (video available). MNA/MPAs and elected councillors were not allowed in. We gave them time up to 9:30 to open the gates (because of people waiting for their work outside) and sent a message through the ‘locked in’ Councillor (video available). When this did not happen and after waiting a few hours the public pushed the outside gate which actually yielded in one push. Police was there and no violence happened. However once inside, policemen had a verbal altercation with a few people and they started arresting them. The video circulating about me was when I was (though angrily) trying to turn the head of the SHO away from the altercation.
Your report states that realising the situation the additional chief executive officer agreed to hold talks with a delegation. I wish the CEO had not thrown out the elected legislators and elected councillors out of his office on April 4th and then shut up the office on Thursday and Friday. We appealed for two days for talks.
During the talks it came out that CBC was supplying 1300 tankers free of cost to VVIPS and ‘sifarishis’, and now they wanted to charge them Rs 500 (this is what they actually said). We disagreed and asked them to stop VVIP & ‘sifarishi’ supplies totally and not to use this excuse to charge Rs 500 as people are paying taxes for water. It was agreed that they will create transparency in water allocations and supplies. It was also agreed that PTI will again formally request CBC to drop this idea of charging Rs 500. The entire meeting is recorded.
CBC takes shelter, being under Defence control. Their accounts are not open neither audited, and the public faces their whims. Water scarcity is there in the entire city but it is in CBC where big money is made. The tanker business (mafia) thrives here according to their association.
DAWN should stop reporting from news gathered through TV channels when the event happens in the city. If your reporters are not on site physically, they should at least call others for their version as exaggeration regarding violence, and under, or misreporting is a disservice to the slowly emerging civil society. You have a right to report as you see it, and as an avid reader of DAWN forever, I have an emotional attachment to it. I can only suggest and help improve.
Dr Arif Alvi