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Web Desk
August 10, 2020

CJP slams Sindh govt, local bodies for neglecting Karachi


Web Desk
Mon, Aug 10, 2020

KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed on Monday slammed the Sindh government and  local bodies for what he described as “enmity” against Karachi over various instances of misgovernance.

“The Sindh government has an enmity with this city, as do the local bodies,” remarked CJP Ahmed while hearing a case against billboards installed unsafely within the city.

The CJP remarked that if Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar claims that he does not have the powers to work, "he should go home”. He also asked the mayor when his tenure would be ending.

The mayor responded saying his tenure was ending on August 28, to which the CJP said he should "go" so the city can "be rid of him".

Meanwhile, commissioner Karachi submitted a report to the court regarding billboards in the city.

“Billboards are all over the city. You can see billboards everywhere,” remarked the CJP. He said that if these billboards fall, "there will be a lot of damage".

The lawyer for the District Municipal Corporation complained to the court that people had set up billboards on their private properties.

To this, Justice Ejaz ul Ahsan suggested that the court order a five-year investigation to determine who had set up the billboards.

“There are so many billboards on buildings that windows of homes have been blocked off,” observed the CJP. He added that ventilation of these buildings was restricted due to the billboards.

“This is a violation of the law. There is no such thing as government,” noted CJP Ahmed. He added that every man had formed his own “martial law”.

“Where is the writ of the Sindh government? Is there anyone who would clean up this city,” the CJP asked the advocate general of Sindh.

“Kids are drowning in sewage water every day. Even my car’s tyre went in a gutter,” CJP Ahmed told the officials present in the court. He reminded the government lawyer that it was his city as well.

“I feel there's an enmity with the people of Karachi,” observed CJP Ahmed. He added that there was no one ready to develop the city.

“People come, fill their pockets and leave; no one does anything for the city,” said the irked CJP.

The CJP then asked the officials present in court who had put up the billboards in the city.

Commissioner Karachi once again told the court that people had put up signboards on private buildings. He also informed the court that the government had removed multiple billboards from the city.

To this, the CJP responded saying that billboards were still up on the buildings near FTC. He added that this was a violation of building codes.

“How is the permission given to set up billboards? Where is the government?” asked the CJP again. He added that Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah would do a tour on a helicopter but nothing would happen on the ground.

“Mr attorney general, is there anyone [who will] do something for this city?” inquired the CJP.

“Everyone is ruining Karachi,” observed Justice Gulzar. He added that it seems everyone was a “mafia” in the city.

 CJP Ahmed  then turned his ire towards the city's power supply company. He said that, every day, "ten to eight" people were being "electrocuted" in the city.

“K-Electric has earned in the billions. K-Electric directors should be arrested and sent to jail,” remarked CJP Ahmed. He added that the power supply company has "used" Karachi to pay off its foreign loans.

The CJP also remarked that a case should be registered against the K-Electric chief executive officer and all the management of the company should be placed on the Exit Control List.

The CJP said that the court would issue written orders regarding the matter.

SC's anger justified: Waseem Akhtar

Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar admitted that the apex court’s anger towards him was justified but repeated that the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) does not have any "authority".

The mayor while talking to the media outside the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry also defended his decision not to resign from his post. Akhtar said he did not resign as he was “fighting a war” to improve local bodies across the country.

“This is the fight that I did in the four years. KMC did not have the departments which would have solved the problems of the city,” said Akhtar. He added that whoever replaces him will not be able to “deliver” with the current authority given to the KMC.

“If there was anyone other than me they would also not be satisfied with their performance because nothing is being given to you,” said the Karachi mayor. He also urged the CJP to take up his petition regarding the implementation of Article 140-A.

“Karachi’s situation cannot improve till Article 140-A is not implemented in letter and spirit,” said Akhtar.