Kamal demands restoration of Karachi as single district

Updated 07 Aug 2020

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Mustafa Kamal says PPP divided the metropolis on ‘ethnic and linguistic’ lines. — Online/File
Mustafa Kamal says PPP divided the metropolis on ‘ethnic and linguistic’ lines. — Online/File

KARACHI: Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal on Thursday demanded that Karachi be restored as one district like it was in 2013 as it was the only solution to the problems of the metropolis.

“Handing over Karachi to the federal government or the army is not the solution of city’s problems ... the biggest problem of Karachi is its division from one district to six districts on linguistic lines,” he told a press conference here at the PSP’s Pakistan House headquarters.

Mr Kamal, who served as the Karachi mayor until Feb 2010, said that until 2013 the city was divided into 18 towns which worked under one district. Now Karachi had been divided into six districts and the abolition of 18 towns had affected administration, he added.

Accompanied by PSP president Anis Kaimkhani and others, he said that the Pakistan Peoples Party had laid the foundation of the division of Sindh by dividing its capital on ethnic and linguistic lines. “[If] the division of Sindh is unacceptable, the division of Karachi is also unacceptable.”

The PSP, he said, strongly demanded that Karachi be restored as one district. “The rulers are dividing Sindh and Karachi due to their prejudice and to hide their corruption,” he said.

Says PPP divided the metropolis on ‘ethnic and linguistic’ lines

PM, army chief urged to play role

Commenting on the cleaning of storm-water drains in Karachi by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), he sarcastically said that it was itself a disaster that the provincial government had to hand over the desilting of drains to the NDMA.

He said that the situation was so bad that the prime minister had to take notice of the cleaning of storm-water drains following rains.

However, he made it clear that neither the centre nor the army could alone solve the issues of the city, but said that it was the right of the prime minister to take steps for the provinces and Karachi was a part of Pakistan, not in a separate country.

“The prime minister and the army chief have to play their role [in solving city’s problems]. They should come to Karachi and in the presence of the media go straight to the Chief Minister House and not leave the city until the Sindh government resolves all the problems of Karachi,” he said.

He said that the potential of Karachi could be gauged from the fact that this city alone could generate revenue of Rs8 trillion if its destruction was stopped.

He said that the purpose of 18th Amendment was to empower the provinces, not the chief ministers. The resources and powers the provinces got through the 18th Amendment must be devolved at the grass-roots level, he added.

“It should not be left at the discretion of a chief minister whether he transfers resources and powers to the districts or not. Districts should get funds through the provincial finance commission award like the provinces are getting through the National Finance Commission award,” he said.

Call to place mayor, others’ names on ECL

Holding the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan responsible for what he called the city’s destruction, he said that despite having the office of Karachi mayor and four of the six district municipal corporations the MQM kept on claiming that it was not given powers.

He said when the MQM had its own governor and 12 ministers and advisers in Sindh in 2013, it had itself handed over the powers and resources of Karachi.

He said that the four-year term of the local government set-up was going to end in the current month and with the dissolution of LG system the names of mayor,

deputy mayors and district chairmen should be placed on the Exit Control List.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2020