Murtaza Wahab, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominee for Karachi mayor, has said that a PPP-backed mayor will be able to manage the city's matters better compared to someone from another party.
Speaking to Geo News' Shahzeb Khanzada, Wahab — who served as Karachi administrator from August 2021 to December 2022 — said: “Since PPP is in power in both the federal and provincial governments, it will be easy to run the affairs of the Karachi mayor belongs to PPP.”
"Becoming the mayor isn't a matter of ego. If a person belonging to any party other than the PPP gets elected as the mayor, then they'll complain about administrative powers," he added.
Furthermore, he said expressed doubts that Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) would have the requisite strength to appoint the person for Karachi's coveted post and that only 8 or 9 representatives of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — which threw its weight behind JI's Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman last month — attended the recent JI meeting.
It is pertinent to mention here that elections for Karachi mayor are to be conducted on June 15, and ahead of the appointment, PPP and JI are two of the biggest contenders for the post. Both parties are engaged in a heated battle for the position, each claiming that it has the most voters.
“We want to solve the mayor's issue in a political way,” Wahab said.
Moreover, he conceded that PPP has made mistakes in the past.
“There was criticism that we did not have buses and ambulances, but they can be seen today," he said, referring to the recently launched People’s Bus Service.
He added that there was criticism on the issue of infrastructure in the city, but that too is being improved.
“Work is being done in Karachi,” Wahab said.
We are working to improve the sewage system, the playgrounds, and the infrastructure of the city, he said.
“Road construction is going on in the site industrial area. Korangi Causeway used to sink in the rain, we have improved it. Work on the Malir Expressway is progressing rapidly,” he added, confirming that the section from Qayyumabad to Shah Faisal would be completed by the end of the year.
Wahab further said that resources are very important for developmental work to continue.
“If there is no interference in administrative and political matters, the situation will improve.
“Let the management do the work,” he said, adding that if the PPP is allowed to work with any interference, the party will deliver.
JI's candidate for mayor Naeem, speaking on the same show, rejected PPP’s claims for the top post.
Rejecting the PPP’s claims that PTI would not support JI, the party's Karachi chief, Naeem, said: “Who told them we invited everyone? They do not have complete information, yet they are confident they will appoint the Karachi mayor.”
“They have experience of breaking other parties, but they are dealing with JI for the first time,” he said.
However, he said that there was no “enmity” between the two sides.
“They must accept that our numbers are greater. They will have to end the mentality that they have had since the ‘70s that they will not agree with the mandate even if the country breaks.”
“We have no issues with negotiations,” he said.
If their position had truly been number one, it would have been a different matter, but has the world not seen that JI came out on top?
He then added that the election commission and the RO were used to change election results.
“Even today we are present in the Islamabad High Court and will now be going to the Supreme Court over the matter of six Union Councils (UCs)… then there were 5-6 they took through recounting. Then they took 10-12 seats of the PTI.”
If they had genuinely, we would have accepted. However, they cannot expect us to comply if they snatch seats.
Naeem further said that both JI and PTI individually had more votes than PPP, and stated that both his party and PTI were working together.
“We are in contact with PTI members but we do not want to put all our cards on the table yet, lest they go and start nabbing PTI members who support us.”
He further said that he had spoken to the high court and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to normalise the matter and reiterated that JI was PTI’s “custodian” in Karachi.
“We are trying to provide relief and protection to them,” he said.
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