KARACHI: The first session of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) city council on Thursday, chaired by Mayor Wasim Akhtar after his release from jail, turned out to be rather dull and non-productive, except for the slogans chanted in favour of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) founder, Altaf Hussain.
MQM’s chairman from District Korangi, Muhammad Farooq, said that Akhtar is the nominated mayor of Altaf and he congratulated him on behalf of Altaf for chairing his first session. It was then that the slogans in favour of Altaf echoed in the council and Akhtar called off the session until January 24, 2017.
The elected KMC council formally began on Thursday its business by electing the opposition leader for the council, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Karamullah Waqasi, unanimously through a resolution.
After being elected as the leader of the opposition, Waqasi assured that they will support Akhtar whenever he needed. However, criticising the KMC, he questioned where the Octroi and Zila Tax (OZT) and the KMC receive goes. The Rs5-million grants that the KMC receives from the Sindh government, according to him, also had no checks and balances.
When Niamatullah Khan left the city council in 2005, he said, there were 10,000 employees and now, 35,000 staff is employed, which is never seen working.
“There should be a biometric system to monitor the KMC staff,” said Waqasi, adding that the Sindh government has funded Karachi with a Rs10-billion package due to which roads and flyovers are being constructed.
The atmosphere of the council turned sour when MQM’s District Central chairman, Hanif Soorti, responded to Waqasi’s allegations. The Sindh government has made the KMC bankrupt and all the funds are going to the DMCs, said Soorti.
The situation became so tense while Soorti was addressing Waqasi that Akhtar had to pitch in and ask Soorti to look towards him [Akhtar] while talking.
Soorti went on to say that it was the Sindh government that had given employment in the last 10 years to KMC.
100-day cleanliness campaign
Jamaat-e-Islami’s chairman from District East, Junaid Mukati, expressed his grievance over Akhtar’s 100-day cleanliness campaign and said that no union committee from the opposition was covered in the campaign.
Akhtar responded that the 100-day plan is for the identified union committees in different districts. We are planning to enhance our campaign in District Malir, South and West, too, said Akhtar.
Ironically, PPP’s chairmen from Lyari were not on the same page with their opposition leader.
Lyari’s union committee 13 chairman, Abdul Sattar, said that he won, bagging 35,000 votes, and today he has no office to sit in.
Another chairman from Lyari’s union committee 10 said that the chairmen and mayors are ‘dummies’.
“The power lies with the minister of the local government,” he said, adding that they have turned in an application with their deputy commissioner for an office several times but no one pays heed to their demands.
Meanwhile, a resolution was tabled against the jammers weakening mobile phone and internet signals surrounding Karachi Central jail due to which the residents face immense problems. The resolution was unanimously adopted.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2016.