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Karachi severely under resourced: Outgoing mayor indicts Sindh, federal govts

W.11

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Jan 20, 2011
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KARACHI: An emotionally-charged Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar charge-sheeted the provincial and federal governments for their failure to address the civic issues of the economic nerve centre in his farewell press conference on Monday.
Ironically, Akhtar’s political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), is part and parcel of the federal government since the start of this government’s tenure.
His emotions got better of him when he tossed scores of letters he had written to Chief Minister Sindh, Prime Minister and several other senior officials and throwing away that bundle of letters, yelled that none of the letters was ever responded.
It is pertinent to mention here that when the controversial Sindh Local Government Act (SLGA), 2013 was passed by the PPP government, then governor Sindh, MQM's Dr Ishratul Ebad, had given assent to it.
The mayor said that top officials of the federal and Sindh governments only pay helicopter visit to the city. He charged that the Sindh government's leadership hailing from different areas of the province had inhabited Karachi considering it Paris.
“I know how they purchased houses in DHA and Clifton,” he said and added that the provincial government has given nothing to this city in 12 years. Akhtar was addressing a presser at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s head-office on Monday. Deputy Mayor Arshad Hassan, Parliamentary Leader in City Council Aslam Afridi, chairmen of City Council’s different committees and KMC’s departments were also present.
“The Sindh government considers Karachi an ATM and now wants to further bifurcate the city. The people of Karachi should unite for the sake of the city by keeping their political differences aside."
Directing his attack towards the prime minister, the mayor said nothing can be done by sitting over there. "Come and fix the city, nothing is achieved by forming committees," he said, referring to the body formed for the city's betterment. "The Prime Minister, Imran Khan, had sent National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to Karachi but I would request him to come and do something tangible for the city." He asked the federal government to show serious interest in Karachi as it represents the entire country.
“Karachi needs special attention being the economic engine of Pakistan,” he added. The mayor also regretted that the Supreme Court didn’t take any action on his petition in 2017 for strengthening the local government. “Had the Supreme Court taken action, the people of Karachi wouldn’t have suffered this much today,” he said.
Waseem Akhtar said that he has the mandate of 30 million people which is bigger than that of the chief minister but despite that, he only faced mental agony and stress in the last four years. “Karachi only receives a nominal share from its rightful resources and that too because of the MQM-Pakistan but it deserves much more than that. I had been sending proposals of Karachi development schemes to Sindh government to include them in the provincial Annual Development Programme but none was incorporated. Isn’t this enmity to Karachi?” he asked. About the funds KMC received for clearing the storm drains, the mayor said that he only received Rs500 million once and that too on the directives of the Supreme Court. The drains cannot be cleaned until there is proper garbage lifting system. “The Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, had himself admitted that the KMC was not empowered,” he pointed out.
The mayor said that the people of the city are tormented due to the criminal negligence of the Pakistan People's Party as their ‘Wadera’ [feudal] mentality does not want the local bodies to be empowered. He said this was the failure of the Sindh government and that of the federal government to ensure the province works under Article 140-A of the Constitution. The people of Karachi, he said are politically aware and that’s why they always voted for MQM-P. “Everybody knows that local bodies are deliberately made powerless. Not only in Karachi but across the province,” he added. The provincial government had "destroyed" Larkana, Sehwan, Dadu and Mirpurkhas. Akhtar said that there is a shortfall of Rs 6 billion in the head of Annual Development Programme by the provincial government.
About the Keamari district, the outgoing mayor termed its creation as illegal, saying the people, as well as local bodies representatives, were not taken on board. He said that every other big city in Pakistan has one district alone but in Karachi, several districts were formed. The provincial government, he said, experimented by creating Malir and Korangi districts and it should not repeat the mistake again.
The mayor said that the people of Karachi were living in crises-ridden conditions, adding that he had functionalised all the departments under KMC in his four-year tenure. Briefing about the uplift work carried out by KMC during his tenure from 2016 to 2020, he said “we took charge under severe crisis with majority of nonfunctional departments but kept struggling for improvement of city's conditions." He said he had fought for amending the controversial Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 and that’s the reason relevant circles paid some attention to the issues of Karachi.
 

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