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Karachi

June 19, 2017

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Dejected mayor pins all hope on SC for local govt’s empowerment

Dejected mayor pins all hope on SC for local govt’s empowerment

“All forums to demand powers for local bodies have been exhausted. Everything is now up for the court to decide,” said a disappointed Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar while speaking to The News on Sunday.

Seeking implementation of Article 140(a) of the constitution and the Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2013, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) earlier this year filed a petition in the Supreme Court against Sindh government’s alleged violation of the constitution and the law.

The mayor stated that local bodies’ representatives have been trying their best to have their demand fulfilled, but claimed that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was least interested in extending the powers to an elected mayor, and is instead acting as the city’s mayor himself.

He further said that the Sindh government will have to face the people of Karachi and Sindh in 2018’s general elections and answer their questions regarding the injustices and atrocities meted out to them.

“We held a demonstration outside the Sindh Assembly building, but the chief minister not only refused to meet us he also did not allow me to enter the assembly building,” Akhtar stated.

The assembly is a forum of the masses, but its gates were locked upon us and the police force was called to stop the city’s elected mayor from entering it, he added.

He said that the government held local bodies elections on the orders of the SC and the CM is now again waiting for the apex court’s order to empower the mayor. Akhtar, however, observed that a future strategy to run the campaign would be decided after Eid-ul-Fitr.

He vowed to raise the issues before members of the city council, including opposition parties’ members, who are to attend the budget session scheduled to be held on Monday (today).

Speaking of whether he had been approached by the prime minister or the provincial chief minister regarding the Karachi package, Akhtar replied in the negative.

Expressing his dismay, the mayor said that people of Karachi were living in the most poor conditions despite contributing the highest amount of revenue to the country’s economy.

“The city has no public transport, no railway system, is suffering acute water and power shortage since the last nine years.”

Last week Akhtar while speaking to this scribe had said that the Sindh CM, “is violating the constitution of Pakistan’s Article 140 (a) and the Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2013,” by not giving powers to him.

He had said this when asked to comment on Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s remarks made in the provincial assembly on Thursday that those asking for powers should work within the powers given to them.

Akhtar said: “You [CM] are violating even those powers given by the Sindh government in the SLGO 2013.”

He was of the view that the chief minister was not empowered to construct mega projects because that was a clear violation of the SLGO. He added that only the mayor could work on mega projects.

He said the chief minister’s working on mega projects was an encroachment on and violation of the constitution.

“The local bodies elections were held on the orders of the Supreme Court and now we are again fighting in the court for powers and will get the powers from the court.”

Akhtar said: “We still reserve the right of protest, but the MQM- Pakistan is a peace-loving party and does not believe in violence.”

He said they would again approach the court of the masses and acquire the powers of mayor through the power of masses.

The mayor mentioned that he had earlier spoken to all party members who had a consensus that the mayor should be empowered.

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