Wahab did nothing remarkable for city as KMC chief, say PTI, MQM-P leaders

By Our Correspondent
September 27, 2022

After Barrister Murtaza Wahab resigned as the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) administrator following a Sindh High Court order that restrained the K-Electric (KE) from collecting KMC’s municipal charges, a senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) welcomed the development, saying Wahab had only worked hard to destroy the city.

In a statement issued in the wake of Wahab’s resignation, the PTI’s parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, Khurrum Sher Zaman, said the resignation should have come earlier. He added that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader had proved to be a failed administrator for the city.

Zaman also hailed the Sindh High Court's decision, saying it met the expectations of the people of Karachi.

During Wahab’s administration, the PTI MPA said, the city’s garbage and sanitation problems were not resolved, the civic bodies failed to drain off rainwater, no drinking water was unavailable for public and unannounced load-shedding was at its peak.

He went on to say that Wahab’s reservations on the high court's decision were in fact tantamount to contempt of court. The PPP always protected its interests under the shelter of public policy, the PTI leader added.

Zaman remarked that courts were also aware of the PPP’s political games as they had also told Wahab not to act smart. The KE had already burdened the people of Karachi with taxes and the PPP also wanted to cash the opportunity, he alleged.

He said that Wahab's loyalty to his party had left the citizens suffering from back pain because all the roads in Karachi were broken. He expressed the hope that the Sindh government would refrain from installing a political administrator in Karachi before the local government elections.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) deputy convener and former Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar told The News that Wahab had failed to deliver as the KMC administrator because of lack of resources and funds.

He was made a ‘caretaker’ of the KMC for three months to look after day-to-day affairs but later, Akhtar said, Wahab started to take decisions which only the elected council could take.

"Wahab was promised that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led provincial government would finance the KMC for construction and development works of Karachi. However, after months, he realised that Karachi needs huge funds and power and without the provision of power, no one can deliver."

The MQM-P leader said that when Mustafa Kamal was the city’s mayor, he had control over the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, health and education, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and other relevant municipal organisations. “This is why a very nominal municipal tax was introduced,” he said.

Akhtar explained that later, the Sindh government took over the water board, education, health and even waste collection functions from the KMC. As the administrator of Karachi, Wahab said municipal tax should be collected from the people of Karachi but he did not explain that half of KMC’s work was being operated by the Sindh government itself, the former mayor remarked.

The MQM-P leader said that as half of the municipal works had been taken over by the provincial government, no one knew whether municipal taxes, after their supposed collection by the KE, would be spent by the Sindh government or KMC.

He explained that he had opposed the inclusion of municipal taxes in the electricity bills because in that case people would have been charged for services that were not available for them. Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairman Mustufa Kamal, PSP spokesperson Aasia Ishaq and their media coordinator Asad Sheikh did not respond to repeated phone calls by The News.