The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) City Council’s second session held on Thursday after a gap of four months descended into chaos after opposition and treasury benches chanted slogans against each other, and exchanged verbal barbs.
Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab conducted the general body meeting in the KMC head office council hall. During the meeting, a total of 13 resolutions were approved by the council.
At the beginning of the meeting, prayers were offered for the Palestinians who had been martyred in Gaza and those who had died in the recent fire in a shopping mall in Karachi.
The City Council through two identical resolutions, which were approved unanimously, condemned Israel’s aggression in strong terms, and demanded of the international powers, especially Muslim countries, to play an effective role in ending the Israeli aggression in Gaza.
After the prayers in the session, the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) members resorted to sloganeering “Qabza Mayor Namanzoor” (the illegal mayor unacceptable). JI parliamentary leader Saifuddin Advocate speaking to the council members said that the JI submitted a resolution in favour of Palestine but it was moved back.
Female members of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) held banners on which was written “Chanda Chor” (charity fund thief).
During the meeting, the resolution on the establishment of a Karachi Metropolitan Museum under the Department of Culture and Sports was approved, where historical references of the last 70 years of Karachi will be preserved for public awareness.
The council approved the establishment of an Enforcement and Implementation Department in the KMC and its schedule of establishment that is aimed at maintaining a better, safe and sanitary condition of Karachi and for increasing revenue by using the available powers.
The schedule of establishment has one post of director (chief inspector) and additional director each in the newly established department. Other employees included these posts are taken from different departments of the KMC.
Among other resolutions passed by majority votes during the proceedings of the meeting, the City Council approved the naming the underpass from Johar Chowrangi to Habib University in Gulistan-e-Jauhar after Palestine Martyrs, permission to use formerly Alladin Park and adjoining 16 acres of land for the bus depot of Trans Karachi (BRT) Red Line Project in light of a provincial cabinet summary, non-development of the Red Line project from Safoora Chowrangi to MA Jinnah Road and the Green Line extension project from MA Jinnah Road under BRT, taking into consideration the public difficulties. It was recommended that the federal government take immediate steps to speed up the work on these projects.
The Sindh Local Government Act 2013 (Amended 2023) for the Anti-Encroachment Department of the KMC to levy an annual levy/tax on all BTS (mobile phone towers) installed under the jurisdiction of the KMC was also considered.
Other resolutions include the amount of interest account for the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition in the KMC and the Katchi Abadis Department, utlizing 100 per cernt charges received from Abbasi Shaheed Hospital in the KMC (user charges) for running the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and a resolution recommending an immediate end to gas loadshedding in the city.
After the session, JI’s Saifuddin Advocate addressing a press conference said that they wanted a peaceful City Council session, which was conducted after a gap of five months.
He said that they had provided a 19-point agenda for the council meeting in which they demanded discussing the KMC’s budget as well. However, this was ignored and consequently the session couldn’t proceed.
Post-city council meeting, the mayor also held a presser. He said that he tried his best to make the atmosphere of the City Council pleasant, but unfortunately, despite his showing all flexibility, the opposition parties, especially the JI, showed the worst behaviour in the meeting held on Thursday.
The PTI representatives, he said, did well by not supporting the Jamaat-e-Islami. “We have got all the resolutions approved according to the agenda. We could have postponed the meeting for an indefinite period, but we postponed the meeting until Monday in the hope that maybe better sense would prevail and members of the Jamat-e-Islami would come to play their role in solving the problems of the city,” he said.
Wahab said the reason for postponing the previous meeting was that they wanted to conduct the meeting in a good manner, but the representatives of the JI started protesting and making noise at the beginning of the meeting.
He said they started with the resolution to condemn the atrocities on the Palestinian people in Gaza and to express solidarity with them, as well as saluting the firefighters and rescue workers who put out the fire in the city on Wednesday, but the JI objected to this. “This proves that in the past some people used to do mischief in this city and now someone else has taken their place. We made all the efforts to hold the meeting in a dignified manner but it seems that these people took it wrongly.”