Some days after work, I stop by Paradise Store to pick up some medicines or groceries in Clifton or at Motta's across the road. There is a man in a yellow cap who has a little receipt booklet. Yesterday, he charged me Rs30 for my car. I argued with him, not because I don't think I should pay for parking, but because as far as I know, it is illegal.
What makes me really angry is that this area at Schon Circle has been a mess for months. If they charged me for parking and used those funds to maintain the infrastructure, I would happily pay even double. You can see in the picture below that there is a giant hole in the road and the entire surface has been ripped out because they are ostensibly laying sewage, gas and other pipelines. The work has made people miserable because during the rains it became slush. The service road all the way up to Pizza Hut at the opening of Mai Kolachi is dug up and uneven.
I have long known that charged parking is illegal. Why? Simply because I did not vote to approve it. I do not have an elected local government in the shape of an elected mayor who sits in a City Council made up of elected councilors who were chosen by people in neigbourhoods from across Karachi.
Ostensibly, the last time charged parking was democratically discussed by representatives elected by the people by vote for their neighbourhoods was in 2018. The KMC's City Council (under Waseem Akhtar) had approved 24 sites for charged parking.
Since then, Karachi has not had an elected local government, so the decision-making has been in the hands of unelected bureaucrats such as commissioners and the Karachi Administrator. The current Administrator is Murtaza Wahab. This essentially means that if anyone has a problem with charged parking, they have to go to court. Murtaza Wahab just declared that they have put these details on their website. You can find the entire list of proposed and running sites where they want to charge for parking.
In the map below we are adding the spots: GREEN for running and ORANGE for proposed by Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab (Please refresh if needed).
This morning (Thursday, Sept 7) the newspapers said that the Sindh High Court has asked the DMCs and traffic police to explain themselves. Under what law are people being charged for parking in Karachi, the judge asked. Imagine this, the legal representative for the Karachi Commissioner said: There is no law about collecting parking fees, but it was being collected for road maintenance and repairs. He said the Commissioner’s office had nothing to do with levying a tax (parking fees). KMC’s lawyer confirmed that this was true. In fact, the commissioner cannot come up with new taxes. There has to be a democratically and legally sanctioned way in which the people of Karachi can be charged new taxes. (This is why cantonment boards call their 'taxes' fees).
In fact, it is also illegal for any cantonment to charge for parking. The Cantonment Act of 1924 does not say anything about it. In 2017, the Karachi Cantonment Board was taken to court and the judges decided that it could not charge for parking.
In January this year, one KMC official was sent to jail for bribes over illegal charged parking in Korangi, proving that unless the system is transparent and managed properly with checks and balances, it can be open to abuse.
In 2004, the City Council under Nazim Niamatullah Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami had debated charged parking. A resolution had been filed to end it. But then, the nazim decided it would continue.
If you go to the KMC website, you'll find an old list of 34 charged parking sites, just to give you an idea of the sanctioned sites:
Tariq Road from McDonald's to ABL Roundabout (Both Sides)
Hill Park (Boundary Wall)
Service Road Shahra-e-Faisal (From Karsaz Flyover to Shahra-e-Quaideen Flyover and return) up to Karsaz Flyover
Civic Centre only at University Road and Sir Shah Suleman Road from Gate of Civic Centre to DMC East Office
Service Road of University Road from Hassan Square to Nipa Flyover
Fariya Mobile, Raza Mobile Rashid Minhas Road (From Al-Ghafoor Mobile to Firdous Shopping Mall)
Sindbad Gulshan (Boundary Wall)
KDA Market (From Gulshan Flyover to Disco Bakery, Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani Road)
Chase Value Centre opposite Alladin Rashid Minhas Road. (Service Road)
Imtiaz Store Gulshan-e-Iqbal Service Road Rashid Minhas Road
In front of Salma Shopping Centre Express Way Qayyumabad
N.I.B.D. Hospital to United King Bakery and Mashriq Centre to Kareem Plaza Sir Shah Suleman Road
In front Ibne Seena Hospital University Road
Al-Khaleej Tower, Kababjee (Service Road of Shaheed-e-Millat Road)
Chase-Up and World Mobile Nipa University Road
Naheed Chase Store only at Service Road of Shaheed-e-Millat Road
Hyderi Market Parking Lot North Nazimabad (Boundary Wall)
Mobile Market Korangi No. 4 Korangi Road
S.M. Toufeeq Road Liaquatabad Super Market to Liaquatabad No. 10
S.M. Toufeeq Road Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad
Sareena Mobile Mall and Haroon Shopping Mall Bufferzone
Parking Lot at infront of Nazimabad Driving License Branch (Boundary Wall)
Parking Lot infront of A.O. Clinic Nazimabad (Boundary Wall)
In front of Naz Plaza M.A. Jinnah Road
Faizee Rahimeen (Art Gallery Parking Lot) (Boundary Wall)
Beach Park Parking Lot Clifton (Boundary Wall)
Clifton Centre (Covered Area)
Crystal Court Clifton (Covered Area)
Sassi Arcade Clifton (Covered Area)
Paradise Centre Clifton (Covered Area)
M.A. Jinnah Road (From Kausar Medico to Civil Signal, Light House Signal to Turning of Sarai Road (Lahori Sharbat) and Memon Masjid to MW Tower
Gul Plaza M.A Jinnah Road
Infront of Jillani Centre Mobile Market M.A. Jinnah Road
Zoo (Garden) (Boundary Wall)
Charged parking was started at these locations as an experiment back then:
Rufi Shopping Mall main University Road
Home Plus to Maskan Chowrangi Both Side Shabbir Ahmed Usmani Road
In front of Sunday Bazar Opposite Safari Park Main University Road
Sunday Bazar Safoora main University Road
So we want you to tell us where you have been charged for parking in Karachi
In the comment section below, please list where you are being charged for parking in Karachi and how much. This will create a crowd-sourced list of illegal sites, which we can then map.
We would want to know if you receive receipts when you are charged. Do also tell us if you think that contractors are illegally operating in your area.