Karachi Mayor Akhtar suspends Mustafa Kamal as Project Director Garbage 'over playing politics'

Updated 27 Aug 2019

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Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar addresses the media on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar addresses the media on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

Less than 24 hours after "designating" former mayor Mustafa Kamal as “Project Director Garbage on voluntary basis” to clean the city, Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar on Tuesday suspended the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chief from the position.

"I had appointed him thinking that he sincerely wanted to solve the city's problems. However, after the press conference he held last night, it is clear that Kamal only wants to play politics," Akhtar said during a media talk.

"I am hereby suspending Kamal from the position I had given him yesterday."

Yesterday morning, continuing an ongoing war of words regarding the functioning of the municipal department of Karachi with the mayor, Kamal held a press conference where he had said that he was willing to work to dispose off the city's garbage and clear the city within three months.

Responding to the claim, Akhtar had issued an order in the afternoon and appointed Kamal the Project Director Garbage "on a voluntary basis".

Later in the evening, Kamal announced that he had accepted the mayor’s offer and said he would work round the clock and report to the mayor even after midnight since “he is my boss now”.

However, in the same breath, the PSP chief said by issuing this order, the mayor — who belongs to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) — had conceded his failure and the MQM should ask him to resign as there was no justification left for him to continue in office.

While addressing the press today, Akhtar said: "He (Kamal) had said in his press conference that he wanted to work for Karachi and take charge of the municipal tasks that the mayor currently has.

"In good faith, I responded positively to his request, setting aside all the differences we had had in the past. Everything that he has said about me and to me on a personal and professional level is on record; in spite of all of that, I said that I will let this man take the position, for the sake of the people of Karachi.

"But my sincerity was misused," alleged Akhtar.

"It was given the colour of politics. You (Kamal) used my move to play politics; you took out a rally, gathered your party workers, called the media and started saying those same vile things that you had said about me before. This proves that you are not sincere, it means that all you wanted to do was play politics.

"What should have happened was that you should have come to the municipal works department head office, and given a formal joining there. You should have shared your 90-day plan and the formula you have for clearing Karachi in 90 days with us so that we all could have proceeded on the matter with seriousness.

"Instead, you held a press conference and tried to act like you had been given all mayoral powers; you started acting like districts had come under you. That is not the case, you had been made the project director of garbage and you had to work under the mayor office to clean this city up," the mayor said, responding to claims made in Kamal's press conference yesterday where he had said that he would be responsible for municipal services of the 130 union committees and four district municipal corporations being controlled by the MQM-P.

"You are not a member of the National Accountability Bureau that you can summon the financial records and files of the department, you do not have that authority.

"In light of all of this, today I have made the decision of suspending Kamal from the position he was given yesterday," the mayor concluded.

'Not playing politics'

Responding to Akhtar's allegations in a press conference held earlier today, Kamal said: "If I was playing politics, I would not have called a man, who is the member of my opposing party, my boss in front of the entire world."

Kamal said that he had received calls from many non-governmental organisations that offered to help him but he had refused because he "wanted to bring state machinery into use".

He also dismissed Akhtar's argument that Kamal should have reported to the mayor's office and shared his plan.

"This city has become a ruin because you keep sitting in your office," the former mayor said.

"The current resources and authority [granted to the mayor] are enough to manage the city," Kamal added. He repeated his "offer" to clean the city within three months if granted the authority that the mayor possessed.

The former Karachi mayor also addressed the Prime Minister Imran Khan and said: "You have sent many senior politicians to jail for corruption, why don't you take notice of the corrupt practices that are taking place right under your nose, that are ruining your country's jugular vein?"