KARACHI, Nov 9: The Foreign Policy magazine of the United States has chosen Karachi Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal as the second among the best three mayors in the world for 2008.
Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit and Chongqing Mayor Wang Hongju were the other two “mayors of the moment”, a press release issued by the Karachi City District Government said.
The magazine said: “No city globalises on its own, but with shrewd investments and smart urban planning, a mayor can help turn a regional player into a global powerhouse. Here’s how three of the world’s top mayors are climbing the ladder.”
The ‘Foreign Policy’, which is published by the State Group, a division of the Washington Post.Newsweek Interactive, LLC, said that the mayor of Karachi was an unlikely poster child for innovative urban planning.
It said: “The 36-year-old Syed Mustafa Kamal governs a city that’s more often in the news for religious violence than cosmopolitan ways. But the hard-charging Kamal is looking to change all that. He’s courting foreign investment, encouraging international ties, and boosting the city’s tourism.”
According to the magazine, Mr Kamal is not shy about his goals: He has said he wants to turn Karachi into the next Dubai. His ‘Green Karachi’ project aims to plant thousands of trees in the city. He has threatened to arrest anyone who tries to cut down the new saplings, it added.
Mr Kamal, however, gives all credit for this feat to his party leader Altaf Hussain who, he says, selected the representatives from lower and middle classes that represent 98 per cent of the country’s population.
In a statement, he said it was also the recognition of the philosophy of the MQM and the 30-year struggle of its leader.
He said that in the past there was no concept of ownership in Karachi. However, “we owned this city and carried out development works on a large scale. A lot of work is still to be done and the city is still far from the concept of an ideal city.”
Mr Kamal said that despite all the obstacles and challenges and difficulties faced by his team, he had never let down the people and would not do so in future.
He said there was no single command and control authority for Karachi, adding that 13 organisations were controlling the city’s municipal affairs which had made the situation very difficult for its development. “We have contacted everyone from top to bottom who has anything to do with the policy and decision making and now they should pay attention to this.”—APP