Rumpus in City Council as opposition denied debate on civic issues

Updated October 30, 2019

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A session of the City Council descended into chaos on Tuesday as the opposition and treasury members shouted insults at each other when the chair did not allow the former to discuss the municipal and civic problems of the city. — Online/File
A session of the City Council descended into chaos on Tuesday as the opposition and treasury members shouted insults at each other when the chair did not allow the former to discuss the municipal and civic problems of the city. — Online/File

KARACHI: A session of the City Council descended into chaos on Tuesday as the opposition and treasury members shouted insults at each other when the chair did not allow the former to discuss the municipal and civic problems of the city.

Shortly after the regular session got under way at 3.55pm with a delay of one hour and 25 minutes with Deputy Mayor Arshad Hasan in the chair, the parliamentary party leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamaat-i-Islami, Karamullah Waqasi and Junaid Mukati, respectively, and other opposition members sought permission to discuss the city’s problems.

The opposition members walked towards the podium in protest when the deputy mayor told them that the city’s issues might be discussed in the house after completion of the business on the council’s agenda. However, they were confronted by charged treasury members, who assembled in front of the podium effectively obstructing the opposition members.

The house passes 25 resolutions amid opposition’s protest; council demands restoration of Sarfaraz Ahmed’s captaincy

While the City Council echoed with slogans against the municipal administration and Mayor Wasim Akhtar, the house swiftly approved 25 resolutions with majority votes in as many minutes in the ensuing chaotic scenes.

One of the opposition members belonging to the PPP brandished her shoe, many others stood on their benches chanting slogans against the city government and tearing up the copies of the agenda that littered the floor of the council hall.

Later, talking to media representatives in the corridors of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation head office, the opposition leaders said that Mayor Akhtar did not have the courage to face the opposition and that was why he had been absent in the last three sittings of the council.

Mr Waqasi and Mr Mukati alleged that the mayor was running the affairs of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan with the funds of the KMC. They further alleged that the mayor was also handing salaries of more than 200 KMC employees each to several party office-bearers.

The JI parliamentary party leader said that people were dying due to dengue and dog-bite cases were being reported daily in the city, while roads and streets were in poor condition with no proper public transport system.

He said that the KMC with a hefty budget of Rs27 billion miserably failed to control the incidence of dog bite.

The 19-point agenda and many private resolutions were put up for approval during the proceedings, which include the approval of amendment in the by-laws for graveyards; demand of a 15 per cent increase in the Octroi Zila Tax (OZT) share of the KMC to meet the shortfall in disbursement of staff salary as employees were not paid the 15pc increase in their salary and pension.

The council also gave approval of a resolution about start of construction work at the Orangi Cottage Industry.

It also demanded that cricketer Sarfaraz Ahmed be appointed as captain of the Pakistan cricket team in all three formats till the next World Cup.

Other resolutions which got approval in the meeting include the rights of recovery of parking fee on 12 KMC charged parking sites; establishment of technical posts in Landhi Sports Complex; cleanliness arrangement in the Trauma Centre of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital; adoption of a family park in Clifton Block-5 by the Houston-Karachi Sister Cities Association and naming it as ‘Tahira Family Park’; contract of sale of animals at old beef slaughterhouse of Cattle Colony and vehicle parking fee carrying the fodder for financial year 2019-20; recovery of animal slaughtering fee at the New Karachi slaughterhouse and rights of running various food stalls and electric rides, zoo entry fee, cafeteria and photography stall in the Karachi Zoo, Landhi-Korangi Zoo and Safari Park.

Earlier, the council offered fateha for late M.M. Usmani, a former KMC administrator, naat khawan Yousuf Memon and mother of chairman estate committee Nasir Khan Taimuri.

The members also prayed for full recovery of ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2019