HYDERABAD: Sticking to his recommendations for the division of Karachi into three districts, which earned him an instant rebuff by the political parties that matter, Dr Kaiser Bengali questioned the workability of other options at hand.
“Both the 1979 and 2001 local government systems have their weaknesses and, hence, are opposed by one political party or the other,” he said. “While the former empowered bureaucracy only, the latter went a step, further sliding into fiefdoms.”
Talking to the media on Sunday, the former adviser to the chief minister, Dr Bengali, gave examples of Thatta, Jacobabad and Tando Allahyar where particular families became de facto and de jure rulers of the district under the 2001 LG system. However, he spared his audience criticism of Karachi and its key political parties which lay at the centre of the standoff.
From the platform of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Dr Bengali had proposed a few days ago that Karachi should be divided into three districts – Karachi, Lyari-Keamari and Malir.
He suggested vesting a bureaucracy with the responsibility for law and order, revenue, disaster management, regional planning and development at the divisional level. The domain of elected nazims of the proposed districts would have included school education, health, social welfare, urban development, finance and planning, works and services.
“I regret that the political parties jumped to conclusions without perusing the recommendations,” Dr Bengali said. “At some point, all the parties will have to budge from their stance for a solution which satisfies all. Therefore, our proposals offer a way forward,” he said welcoming modifications but only those that do not deviate from the spirit of the recommendations.
Dr Bengali justified the omission of the issue of control over the Defence Housing Authority and cantonment boards on the premise that the two are untouched by the local government systems of 1979 and 2001. “Our proposals have only taken into consideration areas which were brought under the purview of the two laws.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2011.