KARACHI           -          Mayor Wasim Akhtar said here on Monday that people of the port city were facing the consequences of ‘criminal negligence’ on the part of the Sindh government.

Speaking at a presser at Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) building, the mayor said, “Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh government considers Karachi a money making machine, and now wants to further divide the city. People of the city should put their political differences aside and unite against this move. Prime Minister Imran Khan had sent the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials to Karachi, but now I would request him to come to the city himself.”

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 on the occasion.

Briefing newsmen about the development works carried out by the KMC during his tenure from 2016 to 2020, Wasim said that it was the right of Karachiites to know details of resources of the corporation. 

“When we took over, KMC was in severe crisis, with majority of departments closed, but we didn’t give up and kept struggling for the betterment of the city,” he said, and added, “Now we have made most of the departments functional.”

The mayor further said that he had filed a petition in the apex court, seeking empowerment of the local bodies since it was his belief that solution to provincial capital’s problems lay in empowering the local bodies.

He said that he had written to the concerned authorities several times, and brought to their knowledge the issues people of the city were faced with, but to no avail. Wasim said at last it was his struggle to introduce amendments in the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 that the authorities started taking notice of the situation.

“Karachi has got nominal funds and that too because of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) efforts,” he said, and added, “The city deserves much better than this. I have been suggesting to the Sindh government development schemes so that these could be included in the provincial ADP, but none was incorporated; isn’t it an enmity towards Karachi?” 

Giving details of the funds KMC had received for the cleanliness of rain drains, Wasim said that he got only Rs500 million once, and that too on the directives of the Supreme Court. “Drains of Karachi cannot be cleaned until there is a proper garbage lifting system. Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah himself admitted that the KMC was not empowered,” he argued.

The mayor opined that the decision to create Keamari district in Karachi was illegal as the people as well as the local bodies’ representatives were not taken on board.

He said that every other big city in Pakistan had one district, but there were many districts in Karachi, adding that the provincial government had already seen the results of creating Malir and Korangi districts, and now it should not repeat the same mistake.

“People of Karachi are politically conscious; that’s why they always vote for the MQM-P,” he claimed, and added, “Everybody knows that local bodies are deliberately made powerless. Not only in Karachi, but local bodies across the province cannot perform their functions.”

Wasim said that there was a shortfall of Rs6 billion under the head of Annual Development Programme by the provincial government. 

He also asked the Centre to show seriousness in resolving the issues of country’s economic hub. “Karachi needs special attention since entire country’s economy is linked to it,” he contended.