Monday September 27, 2021

Stop public crowds lest they grow into mobs

Corona crisis has pushed the city administration to its limits. The tricky part of this art is dealing with crowds and stopping them from growing into mobs.

Public gatherings are high risk spots for spread of pandemic and the threat is not restrained to participants of these gatherings as the disease travel from man to man.

Community mobilization is the key to save lives in such a scenario, and this job is done well by local representatives of public. Islamabad is fortunate to have its local representatives but unfortunately they are like a pack of wolves led by a jackal. City councillors and the deputy mayor have been active in creating awareness among the masses and protecting human lives but the mayor has been conspicuous by his absence. It seems that his only relevance to the city affairs is his off and on bickering with the city managers for acquiring funds and authority.

“We, however, engage political parties and religious leaders for community mobilization as protection of people is out top priority,” Chief Commissioner Amer Ahmed Ali (AAA) told ‘The News’ while talking about how the city administration controls public gatherings.

He said, “We have engaged with locals and with public representatives of Islamabad to tackle the situation.” He said, “At all levels of district administration, from ACs to the DC and even the chief commissioner, regular meetings are being held with ‘ulema’, traders and social groups etc.”

“Yes there is tremendous increase in workload due to this pandemic but then there is a sense of responsibility and self-accountability,” he said.

On maintaining religious rituals like prayers and processions, he said the basic principle that the ICT administration follows is making sure that all officers are accessible and available to the masses.

All ACs are present at the time of auction of food and vegetables, which happens in the wee hours. “We are connected on whatsapp and monitoring the situation nonstop,” he said.

“People often question how our Panahgah system has worked effectively. The answer is content presence of my officers at the time when the meal is served. We are maintaining these facilities meticulously and it is matchless anywhere in the country. I personally visit and monitor Panahgah affairs and no slackness is tolerated on this account,” he said.

He said in addition to creating Whatsapp groups for all administration officers, he has also brought on an app to keep things moving.

He said price control system has also been digitized and the number of complaints has reduced.

Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat told ‘The News’ that the city administration has engaged Corona Tigers, civic groups, traders and politicians etc. in crating awareness among public about the disease.

Each and everybody is pulling together to protect Islamabad but the guy who is supposed to lead it - the city mayor. Prof Tahir Malik, active in community mobilization, said there are limits of city administration as it cannot acquire the role of elected people. He said ACs and DCs are respected when they serve public but public can turn against them if they push a point a little harder. Community mobilization at this time is responsibility of public representatives and the city mayor may understand that it does not need any funds or authority to do it, Prof Malik said, as all it needs is a sense of responsibility.