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March 1, 2018

Opposition protests as City Council passes three resolutions — all in 10 minutes!


March 1, 2018

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar managed to oversee the passage of three resolutions during the City Council’s 10-minute session on Wednesday with no thanks to the opposition members who crowded near him showering everyone with shreds of the day’s agenda.

The City Council comprises 308 members, three of whom have passed away. However, more than half of the members were absent from Wednesday’s session. The mayor told the House that only 132 members — 75 affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and 57 belonging to the opposition — were in attendance.

Akhtar tried to present the day’s agenda but the opposition demanded that they wished to talk about the city’s development before moving on to the agenda. The mayor, however, told them that they should discuss the agenda before anything else.

When the opposition saw that Akhtar won’t yield to their demand, they attempted to throw the session into chaos: they stood up on their seats, tried to shout down the mayor, crowded near him, tore up the agenda and hurled the shreds into the air.

But Akhtar persisted: he ran the session calmly, got three resolutions passed with majority vote and concluded the session of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) City Council in a mere 10 minutes.

One of the passed resolutions asked the Sindh government to increase the union council’s fund from Rs200,000 to Rs600,000 so that they could carry out their routine works and solve the problems of citizens more efficiently.

Another resolution approved the contract of recovery of charged parking fee on 27 different locations for the current year, while the third one approved the surrender of grant-in-aid of Rs1 million from budget head No V-A1-5(i) and its re-appropriation in budget head No V-E-5(iii) for the purchase of chemicals and medicines for the KMC City Sports Complex.

‘No confidence’

During the brief session, the opposition addressed the press gallery to tell the media that the mayor routinely avoided discussing Karachi’s development in every session of the City Council.

After the day’s proceedings, the opposition members held a news conference outside the council hall. Junaid Mukati of the Jamaat-e-Islami said the mayor had lost the confidence of the House. Asked if a vote of no confidence would be moved against Akhtar, the JI member said it would happen at the appropriate time, adding that his party was discussing the matter with the Pak Sarzameen Party and the PIB faction of the MQM-P.

Mukati said the mayor was least interested in solving the city’s problems. He claimed that Rs7 billion of Karachi’s funds had been embezzled and that all the union council chairmen had purchased luxury vehicles, besides committing corruption in charged parking.

Karamullah Waqasi of the Pakistan Peoples Party said that during the past three City Council sessions the mayor had evaded a discussion on the city’s development funds. He said Akhtar had failed as the mayor and he should step down.

The opposition members pointed out that the City Council sessions were being convened in the absence of deputy mayor Arshad Vohra, who has also claimed of rampant corruption within the KMC.

They accused Mayor Akhtar of passing on development funds to contractors for a hefty commission. They claimed that he wasn’t doing anything for the city and that if he were, the roads wouldn’t be in a ruined state and the people wouldn’t have to endure the sight and smell of garbage heaps across the city.

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