For the first time in 30 years, the voters of Karachi have opted for a national party instead of electing a Karachi-based party. Now that they are in power, how Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan handle Karachi’s problems — including crime, water scarcity and power shortages – will be seen as a test of their governance. Karachi is a mega city with a population of over 20 million people. In the May 2013 general elections, PTI secured only one National Assembly (NA) seat from the city but in the July 2018 polls it got 11 seats and emerged as Karachi’s single largest party. Will PTI and PM Imran Khan, who himself won a NA seat from Karachi, look into the affairs of Pakistan’s biggest and largest city or will they disappoint like their predecessors? Moreover, if PPP is in power in Sindh, how will the opposition parties composed of PTI, MQM and GDA (Grand Democratic Alliance) improve things in Karachi? Can Imran Khan hold direct city mayor elections and empower him or her to effectively deal with the issues faced by Karachi, as he promised? The PTI does have some options. The federal government and the strong opposition in Sindh may successfully pressure the PPP government in Sindh to adopt a pragmatic and unbiased approach on critical issues facing the city. Winning elections is no big deal. What elected representatives need to do is perform once they are in office. Karachi is the most diverse city of Pakistan in terms of its class, lingual and ethnic composition. From 1970 till 1977, Karachi was represented by religious and right wing parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulemai Pakistan and Muslim League. The March 1985 elections were held on a non-party basis but since the November 1988 elections till the May 2013 elections, MQM won the majority of seats from Karachi and also from Hyderabad. Things changed when the split that occurred within the MQM in 2016 gave space to other political parties, particularly PTI. Illegal settlements and land grabbing must be eradicated. Land mafias with political support continue to be a threat. By empowering the local government and mayor of Karachi, one can expect the federal governmentled by PTI to eradicate such mafias When senior PTI leader Jahangir Tareen recently visited Bahadurabad, the current headquarters of MQM-P, he held negotiations with that party and pledged to resolve Karachi’s issues on a priority basis. An MQM-P delegation also visited Bani Gala and held talks with Imran Khan on rendering support to PTI in the NA. With seven seats in the NA, MQM-P is in a strategically important position. PTI failed to acquire the simple majority and needed MQM-P’s support for the election of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Prime Minister. Knowing that PTI may form the government in the centre, it decided to put its weight behind PTI. Now, when the convener of MQM-P Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Barrister Farooq Nasim have been included in the Federal Cabinet, it is time PTI and MQM do something tangible to deal with Karachi’s numerous problems. Both PTI and MQM-P have expressed their readiness to work for the progress and development of the city. Still, despite having a strong opposition in Sindh Assembly and a Sindh Governor belonging to PTI, the two parties cannot proceed with their programs for Karachi unless the PPP led provincial government supports them. Six major areas need the PTI’s attention as far as Karachi is concerned. First, if the severe water crisis in Karachi is not managed it could lead to violence in the city’s worst struck areas. What Imran Khan decides to do about this issue remains to be seen but he must act fast. Secondly, Karachi’s citizens need decent public transport. The metro bus project started with funds from the federal government during the PML-N’s tenure three years ago is still incomplete today. The green bus project started by the provincial government has been a non-starter. As a result, traffic has gotten even worse. It is estimated that there are more than 2 million motorcycles and half a million rickshaws in Karachi. This would not have been case had there been a good public transport system. Third, illegal settlements and land grabbing must be eradicated. Land mafias with political support continue to be a threat. By empowering the local government and mayor of Karachi, one can expect the federal government led by PTI to eradicate such mafias. Fourth, there is a need to provide adequate funds to the public sector educational institutions of Karachi, particularly universities where the standard of education has suffered due to lack of resources. The PTI government must focus on the state of education in Karachi and direct the Higher Education Commission to provide the city’s universities with adequate funds. Fifth, despite generating 60 percent of the federal revenue, Karachi hardly gets 10 percent of federal resources. The unemployment ratio in Karachi, particularly among its youths is also alarmingly high. Therefore, the federal government in coordination with Sindh government must take steps to provide suitable employment opportunities to the youth of Karachi on a merit basis. Finally, pollution, poor urban planning and the absence of an adequate garbage and waste disposal system has turned Karachi into the world’s filthiest city. The local government and mayor of Karachi must be put in charge of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB). The revenue which is generated from water, electricity, motor vehicle tax and other taxes also must be provided to the local government. With proper will and determination, the PTI led government can ameliorate things in Karachi. The city of lights can become an international trade and finance centre once more. The writer is Meritorious Professor of International Relations at the University of Karachi and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, August 27th 2018.