City Administrator Fazlur Rehman has quit amid speculation that the decision was coloured by political wrangling over the local government system. His resignation was stated in a notice issued by the city government on Monday.
Part of the developments centred on a letter giving DCO Muhammad Hussein Syed the additional responsibility as city administrator. After the government decided to discard the commissionerate system, the city administrator and DCO went back to their posts on orders from Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.
On August 9, the Sindh local government secretary, Ali Muhammad Lund, issued an order through which the district DCOs could take the additional responsibility of a city administrator. The letter reached the DCO’s office on August 21 and he took charge as city administrator within 24 hours.
The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) officials are in a quandary as to what has happened.
“If he [Rehman] had resumed office on his own, then it would count as a violation,” said an EDO. “However, it is impossible to think that Rehman would do such a thing and no one knows why the secretary would issue such a letter?”
He added that Rehman had taken charge as the city administrator on orders of a provincial government official. The EDO was confused as to what would happen to the decisions and orders taken by the administrator after the reinstatement of the local government system.
A source in the city government claimed that there was a conflict between the DCO and Rehman after some private television channels ran tickers about the DCO’s post. The source added that the DCO had asked his staff to investigate the matter and thought that Rehman was behind it.
Some city government officials told The Express Tribune that they were confused but had to comply with orders.
Rehman’s last orders
This comes as a surprise to many as Rehman had formed a committee to evaluate development projects on Sunday. The committee was supposed to submit a report to prioritise projects in order to ask the provincial government for more funds. The city government spokesperson claimed that they were facing financial problems and development works in the city were being suspended.
“There is an urgent need to repair old projects because they are being exposed to tough climate changes,” he said. “Signal free corridors, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, maternity homes, Safari park and Cadet College in Gadap Town need immediate attention as the government has invested money in these projects.”
While talking to The Express Tribune, Rehman claimed that the financial situation at the provincial level was not so good and the CDGK was financially dependent on them.
He claimed that their biggest challenge was employee salaries and pensions because they require a lot of money.
Rehman claimed that sanitation projects and desilting storm water drains were necessary and unavoidable. “There is a need to upgrade the municipal services department as per the expectations of the people. When the projects are prioritised, it will be easy to achieve the required goal,” he said.
Rehman added that efforts were being made to repair municipal machinery and equipment. Discussing the mysterious death of the lion cubs at the Karachi zoo, he added that strict action would be taken on the committee’s recommendations.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.