KARACHI - Sindh government on Thursday approved the formation of a new district in Karachi-District Kemari - dividing the city into seven districts, a move vehemently opposed by all major stakeholders in the city except the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.

According to details, the decision was taken during a meeting of the Sindh Cabinet on Thursday, where it was decided to form a separate Kemari district, carving it out from the existing District West.

The cabinet meeting headed by the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was briefed that presently district West had seven sub-divisions, Manghopir, SITE, Baldia, Orangi, Mominabad, Harbor and Mauripur, seven circles, nine Tapas and 23 Dehs with a population of 3,914,757 people. It was observed that the district West was the largest district in the province in terms of population. The cabinet, after thorough discussion and deliberations, approved the creation of Keamari district, out of district West comprising four sub-division, namely SITE, Baldia, Harbour and Maripur with a population of 1,833,864. The Keamari district will have three circles, five Tapas and 11 dehs.

The provincial government termed the decision as in the larger interest of the masses. The Chief Minister further directed the BoR to suggest new names for the districts of the city.

“The names of districts of Karachi have peculiar names such as South, East, West, Central etc,” he was quoted as saying during the meeting and directed that they must have proper names such as Central be named as Nazimabad district, South as Karachi.

Moreover, he further directed the provincial Board Of Revenue (BoR) to submit a detailed proposal for the creation of more districts in the province which had more population or areas.

Meanwhile, the decision to carve out another district from the existing District West drew a strong response from the others stakeholders in the city, who a day before agreed to form a committee to further proceed the agenda of development in the city.Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) strongly opposed the move and announced that it would challenge the decision in the court.The MQM-P coordination committee said in a statement that PPP had always divided the city and the province on ethnic lines and the current conspiracy was only aimed at eliminating the metropolitan status of the city.

“They are only doing such things to keep their politics alive in the city,” the MQM-P said and added that the PPP should stop its hooliganism and measures to form a fake mandate in the city.

Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) while responding on the move said that forming a new district would not change the fate of the city and was only aimed at achieving political advantage. “As the local bodies’ polls are approaching, the PPP-led Sindh government has started playing its political games,” the JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem said.

He blamed the PPP and other parties who had ruled the city for past many years for its miseries and said that such games would not change the situation on the ground in the city, already suffering from civic issues.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Karachi President and Member Sindh Assembly Khurram Sher Zaman while addressing a press conference at Insaf House said that they strongly condemned the decision to further divide Karachi.

The people of Sindh should come out and protest vigorously. Today’s decision of PPP was showing the loss of their intentions, he said.

He said that the decision was made without consultation of the stakeholders. “How this decision will change the fate of the Kemari district,” he said and lamented that two districts in Karachi, namely district South and Malir belonged to them but they could not show even a single model union council there.

Pak Sarzameen Party leader Mustafa Kamal, former MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar, MQM-H leader Afaq Ahmed and others opposed the decision and announced to move the court over the matter.

Mustafa Kamal announced to hold a public gathering against the decision on Friday. Furthermore, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said, “Khairpur is the largest district, it must be bifurcated in two districts. I have heard that it has a constitutional protection, therefore, it could not be divided,” he said and directed the law department to explore ways and means to create one more from Khairpur. Import of wheat: The Chief Minister told the cabinet that the wheat consumption in Sindh had been recorded at 5.6 MMT against which 3,8 MMT had been produced during the current crop year that showed a shortfall of 2 MMTs. Earlier, this shortfall was covered through the wheat from Punjab. But, sorry to say, the wheat of Punjab had disappeared mysteriously, therefore Sindh would have to import the wheat.

The cabinet discussed the matter and decided to import 1.5 MMT through TCP for which Secretary Finance and Secretary Food would work out a mechanism. As per the estimate given by Minister Food Hari Ram the import of a ton of wheat would cost around Rs318. 

The cabinet discussing release of wheat authorised the minister to start releasing wheat from the first week of September but he felt fit he could release the wheat to flour mills/chakis before September. DHQ Bain, Aman HCS: The health department told the cabinet that the DHQ Badin was being operated on PPP mode. The grant of Rs1.272 billion had to be released, otherwise performance of the hospitals would be affected.

The cabinet appreciated functioning the DHQ Badin to the public satisfactory. Their OPD was on the increase day by day, the patients from nearby districts went there. The cabinet approved a grant of Rs1.272 billion and directed the hospital administration to conduct its audit from an independent auditor.

Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi told the cabinet that Rs300 million was required as a grant-in-aid for Aman Healthcare Services (HCS). The cabinet appreciated the provincial government for running Aman ambulance service in the city. The cabinet approved the proposal of a Rs300 million grant. At this the Chief Minister directed the health secretary to ask the Aman healthcare Service authorities to induct a fleet of 50 ambulances in their fleet.

 

e-stamp rules: The BOR presented draft e-stamp rules, 2020. The cabinet was told that a unique identification number referred to as e-stamp ID, quick response code at the bottom of e-stamp; date and time of issuance of e-stamp; amount of stamp duty paid in the bank for the purchase of the e-stamp were being introduced. Under the rules, an ex-officio vendor/bank would issue the e-stamp upon submission of original receipt. The mechanism for verification of e-stamp, refunded of cancellation of e-stamp, audit and inspection had been evolved.

 

The cabinet approved the rules.

 

PRC Appellate body: The cabinet was told that issuance of domicile/PRC to non-residents issue had cropped up against which the Chief Minister had constituted an inquiry committee. The committee after inquiring into the matter forwarded 40 appeals from District Larkana, 26 from Kashmore.

 

Therefore, the directives of the Chief Minister, the home department proposed a five-member Sindh PRC appellate committee comprising Home Secretary as chairman, secretary law, secretary U&B, registrar ATC, Home Department, and additional secretary (judicial) as its members. The committee would hear appeals against PRC domiciles. The cabinet approved the committee.

 

FATF Action Plan: The Sindh Cabinet, on the recommendation of the federal government, approved amendment and introduction of new laws such as  `The Sindh Waqf Properties Act, 2020’ proposed by Auqauf & Zakat department, `Sindh Seized and Freezed Facilities (hospitals and Dispensaries) Act-2019’ by health department; `Sindh Trust Act’ proposed by Industries department and `Sindh Seized And Freezed Institutions (Madaris and Schools) Act-2019 to control money laundering and terror financing as required under Financial Action Task Force (FATF).