In a seesaw of notifications, the Sindh government on Tuesday appointed Provincial Minister for Local Government Agha Siraj Durrani as the chairman of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) and withdrew his appointment on the same day.
Amid the controversy over the restoration of Hyderabad’s old administrative status, interior minister Rehman Malik met with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain in London to appease the contention between the coalition partners, officials revealed. After Hussain’s complaints of not only restoring Hyderabad to its old status but also of appointing Durrani as KWSB chairman without consultation with the MQM, Malik assured him that all the issues will be resolved with the MQM on board.
Hence, the decision was retracted within hours, officials added. Meanwhile, Agha Siraj Durrani told The Express Tribune that he accepted both the decisions made by the government. Earlier, the Services, General Administration and Coordination Department (SGACD) had issued the notification of Durrani’s appointment, after which the MQM protested against the decision, claiming it to be a unilateral move of the government. This will certainly affect the coalition and the party will not tolerate such decisions, MQM’s representatives had said.
The MQM’s stance was that the post of the KWSB chairman should have been given to the administrator of the city. The post was vacant since the dissolution of the local government in February, as former nazim Mustafa Kamal was heading the board. The appointment of Agha Siraj Durrani ensued a series of blames and counter blames. Talking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) MPA Haji Munawar Ali Abbasi, who is also vice-chairman of the KWSB, had termed Durrani’s appointment as “the right decision”.
Abbasi believed that after dissolving the local government system, many misappropriations in the board’s funds were witnessed. The chief minister, being the chief executive of the province, has the powers to nominate the chairman of the board, he said in response to MQM’s objection. Abbasi claimed that ever since he was nominated as the vicechairman in July 2008, he was never actually given the charge, even in the absence of the chairman.
At that time, he said, the board’s affairs were really looked after by the additional chairmen, nominated by the nazim. Meanwhile, Qamar Mansoor, former minister and MQM deputy spokesman, said that the government’s decision regarding the appointment of Agha Siraj Durrani was unilateral and MQM was not taken into confidence, again. It had been decided that after the dissolution of the local government system, the city administrator would be made KWSB chairman, he claimed.
Mansoor said that just like the Hyderabad announcement, this decision was also made without consulting the coalition partners at the PPP core committee meeting. “The Rabita Committee has protested against the decision” he had said, adding, “If the decision is not withdrawn, the MQM will have no other option but to sit in opposition.” In April 2008, the Sindh government removed city nazim Mustafa Kamal as KWSB chairman and the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA).
After the intervention of the president, the government reconstructed the board, nominating Mustafa Kamal as chairman and Haji Munwar Ali Abbasi as its vice-chairman. After becoming chairman, Kamal appointed two members, Imamuddin Shahzad and Moin Khan, from his party as additional chairmen to run the affairs of the board.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 12th, 2010.
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