BM: You have been a part of the social welfare circle since the very beginning and today being a part of the political structure of Pakistan, how has the journey been?
HL: Excellent & Extraordinary! My first experience as a social worker was at the time of the earthquake and that brought a great shift into my life altogether. I saw people dying in Mansehra with most of the hospitals brought down due to the devastating natural disaster. What surprised me was the fact that government buildings specially made to save from such disasters were the first to collapse, whereas, the kachi abadis were still strong and standing. The reason was nothing else but Corruption, and it is unfortunate to state that there has been no action taken on the matter till date. We came across the same situation at the time of flood when I travelled to Shikarpur and Jacobabad, with my students, where the entire city was under water with no rescue operation underway. In fact, we were the first to arrive at the flooded city for aid. The most alarming situation of seeing Jacobabad in such a state was the fact that we have come across the leadership of various politicians, who have attained high political and government positions. We were witnessing the worst conditions of Sindh and I realized how Karachi was coming across the same disastrous situations too.
We began with the #Fixit campaign from covering manholes citywide, without ignoring how greatly the city was affected by garbage and pollution. The government was completely careless of social issues faced by every citizen day in day out. There was corruption in every big and small aspect of life; from police departments to real estate, all administrative bodies were involved in corruption in every possible way. Apart from corruption was the threat to lives that the people faced every time they stepped out from their homes. Coming across the ongoing disastrous situations that Karachi and its people were facing made me take stand and step out for the sake of betterment, and the only leader that actually stood against Corruption, discussing how to demolish the act from the core was none other but Mr. Imran Khan, which is why I joined him.
Once I joined the party officially, I backed out from running in the elections as I felt it easier to campaign for Imran Khan with Alamgir, rather than speak out and ask people to vote for me. After coming out of our comfort zones and lifestyles, talking to the people and knowing their basic issues, I realized how the people have adjusted themselves to the corruption that is taking place. The people have developed a solution to every issue whether its electricity or security, but what they do not have is water, clean environment, pollution free air for a safe and healthy living. Our hospitals are also in the worst conditions, in short, everything is nothing less but chaos. So, these are all the factors that brought me into politics as I realized that running an institution will only lead me educating a few students but in order to guide and aid the masses I would have to take a greater step to bring change in the society by guiding millions, both young and old.
Being given the opportunity, Imran Khan involved me in the presidential initiative and now I believe I will be able to teach hundreds of thousands of youth in skills through which they can easily attain great freelance opportunities, whether girls or boys. Then coming across the water scarcity being faced in the city, I analyzed different areas and towns within the city that did not have access to water; there were no water pipelines, and over thousands of people live in such areas. Moreover, some areas had sewerage water running in the taps with so much smell that one cannot stand there for long. This led my team and me into initiating yet another campaign, “Chamakta Dhamakta Karachi” through which we will construct water reservoirs and plants for clean water supply in such disputed areas.
BM: When did you initiate with “Chamakta Dhamakta Karachi” and what projects have you have planned for Karachi under the campaign?
HL: Governor Sindh Imran Ismail announced this campaign under my supervision from 1 January and has begun with the plan to provide RO plants. We have planned to place 300 RO plants within a few months across the city, it is not easy but we are trying our best. However, this is not a permanent solution for the people, but it will give them an immediate relief to their current situation. The permanent solution lies in the hands of government to reconstruct the entire water supply chain of the city, it is not a big project once started, all we need is for it to begin at least. Another plan under the said campaign is the fact that people have great difficulties with police officials because of corruption, so we have decided to develop Mohala Committees. These committees will aid the people of their area; provide them with all necessary facilities as a matter of security and safe living. So, we are working for the basic needs of the people, trying to wake up our civic bodies so that they perform their duties like it is seen across the world.
BM: Where do you see the results and execution of Naya Pakistan in Karachi?
HL: With my core focus being Karachi and our recent campaign Chamakta Dhamakta Karachi, with the several problems in the city, we have equal amount of potential here too. It is a port city, and it is unfortunate to state that other port cities of the world have gone way farther than where Karachi stands today. Karachi has faced severe backlash due to unstable socio-economic and political issues, and my aim is to revive Karachi, achieve its lost potential and this is easily possible as everyone is welcome to be a part of Chamakta Dhamakta Karachi. We have a lot of support from our Federal Government right now, and there is no doubt in stating that Karachi could revive without the support of the Federal Government.
BM: Where are you collecting the funds for Chamakta Dhamakta Karachi?
HL: In the meanwhile, philanthropists from across the city have provided funds to us. Businessmen and friends, who have no link with PTI particularly, are supporting greatly in this cause. Moreover, Vice Chancellors from different universities are supporting us, Fixit is with us, PTI is providing every possible aid and support. Everyone wants to pay back to their motherland but they do not find the proper channel, and if we are giving them that channel to support and revive Karachi then there is no one who can stop us from bringing back the City of Lights.
BM: How do you deem to prosper the education sector of Pakistan through this campaign?
HL: I resigned from my Institute when I officially joined PTI, as an education institution has its own requirements that cannot be used in political matters. However, I have many students in “Team Hunaid Lakhani” and “Fixit”, where they found to be extremely energetic working for the betterment of Karachi. It is commendable to see how much pain these kids have for their nation, and it is this positive energy that I get from my students and they get from me.
Moreover, talking about quality higher education, it is seen to be very expensive across the world. Digital media has caused a great disruption however given the chance to many young individuals to avail equally better education than that taught in high-end universities worldwide. This is very useful for the youth that cannot afford this quality education if studying at a university, but can avail it now online free of cost on “Brick and Mortar”. Being taught without a teacher or lecturer will be a greater task to accomplish but at least they will have that quality education in front of them to study and qualify with equal knowledge as that of a student learning from a reputed university. What more we have worked on is providing the youth with freelance courses so that they can avail employment based on their skills. These courses will be free of cost and we will be uploading these lectures online for students who live in areas where education is scarce or expensive.
BM: What message do you have to give to our readers?
HL: My message to the people out there is that Chamakta Dhamakta Karachi is Hunaid Lakhani’s project, and a project for every karachiite to take part in. We all have to play our part in it, whether it is for the street kids, drugs, street crime, police issues, or corruption, whatever one can do with respect to the position he or she holds in the society can and should come and join the movement for the betterment of Karachi. I want everyone to take part in this cause regardless of their caste, creed, religion or language, I only want to join hands with my people and change Karachi for the better.