KARACHI: Mayor Wasim Akhtar said on Tuesday that the prime minister was violating the Constitution and negating his own words by releasing funds to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf members of the National Assembly for Karachi’s development.
“No money could be spent on uplift works in the city without obtaining approval of the elected council of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation under the rules,” he said.
The mayor was speaking at a reception held by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Leading businessman Siraj Kassam Teli and KCCI president Agha Shahab Ahmed also spoke.
The mayor also sought help of the business community in strengthening the local bodies institutions saying that the businesspeople got their problems solved from Centre, but none of them took up the civic and municipal issues of the city with the people at the helm of affairs.
Urges business community to help strengthen the local government institutions
“The business community should come forward to help strengthen the local government institutions,” he said, adding that it would solve all problems of the people across the country.
He read out several provisions of the Sindh Local Government Act 2013, and asked how the city could run with such limited powers and resources. “The provincial government has taken over the powers and resources of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and is doing nothing,” he added.
The mayor deplored that the provincial government had usurped all revenue-generating functions of the municipal administration, even those assigned in the “controversial” SLGA, through notifications.
He said the provincial government was collecting the local taxes and levies, thus depriving the city of its legitimate share in revenue collection. “I have made several requests to the chief minister on this issue, but to no avail,” he said.
The mayor said the fire brigade department should have been better equipped and efficient, but no one was paying any attention to it.
He said that 90 per cent of the shopkeepers, displaced during the anti-encroachment drive in the city, had been given alternative spaces for running their businesses.
Siraj Teli said that the civic and municipal problems of the city directly affected the country’s economy, but no one ever owned the city as every political party looted its resources and revenue. “All political parties have an equal share in the poor state of the city,” he said, adding that these parties had also been behind the law and order situation in the city.
KCCI chief Agha Shahab Ahmed said that there were over 50,000 members of the chamber who had more knowledge and data on problems of the city.
He said the sense of deprivation was prevailing in the people who were thinking why the city was being subjected to this unjust treatment despite contributing the maximum amount of revenue.
Mr Ahmed said that proper infrastructure was essential for attracting foreign investment and for resolving unemployment in the city. “The government has failed to perform its duty,” he said.
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020