KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the federal government has constituted a ‘strategic committee’ on Karachi for which neither has he been consulted nor taken into confidence. “Like newsmen, I have heard of the constitution of the strategic committee on news channels.”
This he said while talking to the media along with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail after offering Fateha at the Mazar-e-Quaid on the eve of the founder’s 71st death anniversary. In response to a question, the chief minister said that he had heard in the news that the federal government had constituted a strategic committee to resolve Karachi’s issues. “I don’t know what the committee will do and what its mandate is,” he said.
The governor, responding to the question, said that the committee had been constituted under the Federal Minister for Law Farogh Naseem and its task was to examine the responsibilities of various civic bodies, such as the Karachi Port Trust, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, District Municipal Corporations and others operating in the city. He added that the committee would explore the idea of formulating a singular authority to oversee the city’s affairs and submit its recommendations to the federal government.
The chief minister said that the lifting of garbage and sweeping of the roads and cities were the jobs of the third tier – the local government. He added that the KMC has various major stormwater drains to maintain, while some of the smaller nullhas are with the DMCs. The sweeping of the roads is the main assignment of the DMCs.
He said that when the Sindh Solid Waste Management Authority (SSWMA) was established, the city was generating around 4,000 tons of garbage but now, it was generating around 16,000 tons every day. He added that the DMCs, which have entrusted the lifting of trash and garbage to the SSWMA, have comparatively better cleaning work. “The SSWMA did not snatch the cleanliness work from DMCs forcibly but it was given to them through a council resolution passed by the DMCs,” he said, adding that steps have been taken to further improve the SSWMA’s performance.
Elaborating on the launch of the cleanliness drive, Shah said that his government would take extraordinary steps to lift the heaps of garbage accumulated near the roads and in open plots. He brushed aside the impression of opposing the cleanliness drive launched by the federal minister, Ali Zaidi, saying he had only opposed dumping the filth extracted from the stormwater drains on main roads or near parks. “The exercise has further aggravated the unhygienic condition of the city and had increased the population of flies and mosquitoes,” he said, adding that the local bodies had subsequently started a fumigation drive, which had controlled the situation.
In response to another query, the chief minister said that the recoveries by the federal government were not as good as had been expected. “The shortfall in recoveries ultimately affects the provincial government(s) because their share is reduced accordingly,” he said, adding that the expenditures of government employees’ salaries and other expenses have gone up considerably but the revenue transfers to the province have decreased. “This has created an imbalance and must be improved,” he said.
A vision for Pakistan
The chief minister said that Pakistan was created by the father of the nation and now “it is our national duty to make this country a peaceful, prosperous state where people of different religion, languages, and sects can enjoy equal rights.” He added that this was the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and must be carried forward.
He also appreciated the people of Kashmir for continuing their struggle against Indian atrocities. “You are our brothers and sisters and we as a nation will be supporting your cause and raising our voice for you,” he said.
Governor Imran Ismail also paid rich tribute to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Earlier, the chief minister, the governor and the cabinet members offered Fateha and laid floral wreaths at the mausoleum and recorded their impressions in the visitors’ book.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2019.