Rumpus in City Council as PPP, JI members trade barbs

Published December 8, 2023
Opposition members shout slogans and gather in front of Mayor Murtaza Wahab during the City Council session on Thursday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Opposition members shout slogans and gather in front of Mayor Murtaza Wahab during the City Council session on Thursday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

• Wahab adjourns proceedings until Monday in view of pandemonium
• Council passes resolution to et up Karachi Metropolitan Museum

KARACHI: The second session of the City Council, which met on Thursday after a gap of more than five months, was marred by a ruckus as both the opposition and treasury members turned the house in to a fish market, forcing Mayor Murtaza Wahab to adjourn the proceedings to Monday.

The members stood on benches, pushed and yelled at each other, with the mayor humbly requesting opposition members, mainly belonging to the Jammat-i-Islami, to let the house run in a congenial manner, but in vain.

The session that started at 3pm, lasted for only 36 minutes. Thirteen different resolutions were adopted, only two of them unanimously condemning Israel’s aggression amid commotion. However, those belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf preferred to remain indifferent during the proceedings.

At the beginning of the meeting, presided over by Mayor Wahab, prayers were held for the Palestinians who were martyred in Gaza and those who died in the recent fire in a shopping mall in Karachi. They prayers were, however, held in a peaceful atmosphere.

The situation took an ugly turn at the outset of the proceedings when the JI members started protesting strongly against the chair for not allowing them to move their resolution against Israel.

While the commotion continued in the house, the mayor gave the microphone to one of the PPP council member to speak on the resolution against Israeli atrocities on Palestinians.

The opposition members chanted slogans against the mayor and some of them, including a woman member, climbed up the benches, while others held placards inscribed with slogans “Pani do (Give water), Karachi dushmani band karo (stop enmity with Karachi) and “budget council me paish kro” (present the budget in the council).

The mayor asked the members to behave and show some restraints as some of the members also scuffled.

The opposition members chanted “bhaag gye bhaag gye” (ran away ran away) when the mayor adjourned the house, sensing that proceedings could not be held amid that level of ruckus by the members from the two sides.

Later, both the mayor and the JI parliamentary leader Advocate Saifuddin levelled allegations and counter allegations against each other for the ruckus in the City Council in separate pressers after the sessions.

Resolutions

Earlier, the City Council through two identical resolutions condemned Israel’s aggression in strong terms and demanded from the international powers, especially Muslim countries, to play an effective role in ending the Israeli aggression in Gaza.

Another resolution which was passed through majority vote pertained to the establishment of the Karachi Metropolitan Museum where the historical references of the last 70 years of Karachi would be preserved for public awareness.

The City Council also approved a resolution recommending an immediate end to gas loadshedding in the city.

It also approved the establishment of enforcement and implementation department in KMC for maintaining better and safe sanitary condition of the city and for increasing revenue by using the available powers.

Among other resolutions passed by majority votes during the proceedings of the meeting, City Council approved naming the underpass from Johar Chowrangi to Habib University in Golistan-i-Johar after Palestine martyrs, and permission to use former Alladin Park, and adjoining 16 acres of land for bus depot of BRT Red Line Project in light of provincial cabinet summary.

Another approved resolution pertained to impose levy/tax on all mobile phone towers within the KMC jurisdiction under the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 (Amended 2023).

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2023

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