Quite a few features in the local government system in Karachi are different from the one in place in the rest of Sindh. A major part of the city is urban, except a few sprawling but sparsely populated rural clusters that retain fast diminishing rural colour. Unlike the rest of Sindh, Karachi has no municipal committees and town committees in its urban territory. Instead, the city is subdivided into union committees while its rural parts have union councils, which are governed by a district council. Karachi is the only city in the province to have a metropolitan corporation.

How many municipal seats are there in Karachi?

There are 209 union committees and 38 union councils in the metropolis.

Each union committee comprising four wards offers six seats for direct election: a chairman, a vice chairman and general members for each of the four wards. The elected members later elect two members on the seats reserved for women and one each for peasant or labourer, youth and non-Muslims.

A union council, which is in rural areas of the city, comprises a chairman, a vice chairman and four general members while a member from each UC will be elected directly to represent it in the respective district council. Like union committees, union councils also has five reserved seats.

Voters in urban areas of the city will elect a total of 1,210 members while those in rural areas will vote for 304 seats in 38 union councils.

Each of the six districts of Karachi has union committees, with most of them (51) in central district, followed by 46 in west district, 37 in Korangi, 31 each in south and east districts, and 13 in Malir.

Only Malir and west districts have union councils in Karachi. Six union councils have been carved out in west district and 32 in Malir district.

What is a district council?

Unlike other parts of Sindh where a district council represents its respective district, the metropolis comprising six districts will have only Karachi District Council (KDC) to represent the rural areas of Malir and west district only.

All the other four districts have been designated as urban territories.

Each of the 38 union council will elect a member to represent it in the KDC.

The KDC will supervise all the 38 union councils and guide them to run municipal issues in their respective areas. It also has the authority to launch development projects in the rural areas of the two districts.

Are there district municipal corporations (DMCs) in Karachi only?

Yes. There are six DMCs in Sindh — in Karachi’s six districts. District Municipal Corporations are urban municipalities entrusted the task of governing a district. The vice chairmen of the union committees will be members of the respective councils of the DMCs. They will elect members on the reserved seats and then elect chairmen and vice chairmen in DMCs.

What is KMC?

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) is the only metropolitan entity in Sindh’s municipal system. It is a microcosm of a central government that runs municipal affairs of the city with more authority than the DMCs have in some key projects and affairs.

The chairmen of all the 209 union committees will be members of the KMC council. They will elect members on the reserved seats and then elect mayor and deputy mayor of the city.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2015