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Karachi

September 14, 2018

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Centre has no authority to impose new LG system on Sindh, says Ghani

Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani said on Thursday that the federal administration does not have the authority to forcibly impose any new local government system on the province.

Addressing a news conference at the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) media cell, Saeed Ghani said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) federal government is free to implement a new LG system in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the PTI’s provincial administrations are in power. “But the Centre cannot force a new LG system on us.”

Ghani, who is also the PPP’s Karachi president, said that even during past dictatorial regimes, the country had a uniform LG system in all its provinces.

He told the media that the mandate of the people of Karachi was stolen in this year’s general elections. He said the PPP would continue to serve the people of Lyari and the rest of Karachi irrespective of the results of polls.

PTI man jumps ship

On the occasion, Nasir Karim Baloch, who had contested the July 25 general elections from Lyari’s provincial assembly constituency PS-108 on a PTI ticket, announced jumping ship to join the PPP.

Baloch said that he had rejoined his parent political party. The former PTI member said that he was saddened that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had lost the general elections from the constituency of Lyari. “We shall work together to make Lyari the bastion of support for the PPP once again.”

He claimed that the PTI is not a political party, but rather “a commercial and a multinational party”, where there is no respect for the common political workers.

He said that capitalists have been running the entire show in the PTI and they have been running the party in the manner of a public limited company.

PPP leader Waqar Mehdi said that Baloch had always been a prominent figure of the social and sporting scene of Lyari, adding that his services would be employed by the PPP to work for the people of Lyari in the best of manners.

Seeking outdoor ads

The Sindh government is considering the option of introducing necessary legislation and to approach the apex judiciary to get permission for the city’s municipal agencies to once again start earning through the now-stalled option of outdoor advertising.

“Earlier, the main source of revenue for KMC and DMCs was income through outdoor advertising, but this income generation has been phenomenally affected after the ban [on installation of billboards/hoardings] by the honourable Supreme Court,” said Saeed Ghani while speaking at a press conference here.

The press conference was held after the LG minister chaired a meeting at the head office of the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board.

“But we will do legislation in this regard and approach the judiciary as the laws exist around the world for allowing revenue generation through the option of outdoor advertising and this practice has been continuing,” he said.

Responding to another query regarding income generation by the municipal agencies, Ghani said that revenue collection by the Sindh Building Control Authority had decreased considerably after the court had imposed a ban on the construction of high-rise buildings.

On the other hand, revenue generation by the KWSB has increased. He said that all the concerned municipal agencies had been directed to compile a report regarding the present status of their revenue generation.

Ghani denied rumours that he had developed differences with the Karachi mayor and chairmen of different DMCs who belonged to the opposition political party.

“At the moment I have been visiting the civic agencies which come under my command in order to ensure daily attendance of officers and staff members there and also to make these agencies maximally beneficial for the masses. Later, I myself will go to meet the mayor Karachi and chairmen of DMCs in person,” he said.

The minister said that reports being circulated regarding non-payment of development funds to KMC were also baseless. “We have been providing a special grant of Rs430 million to KMC on account of its salaries every month. While other funds are also being released to it,” he said.

According to the LG minister, the operation against illegal constructions had been accelerated, while the SBCA had been directed to submit a report regarding buildings unlawfully built in the city during the past.

He said that all the elected ministers, mayors, chairmen of DMCs were supposed to serve the people while considering themselves as public office holders and they should do public service with the utmost dedication while rising above their political affiliations.

“I being the local government minister will play this role while I also expect from others to reciprocate as well,” he said.

Ghani said a meeting had been convened at the offices of KWSB to resolve all issues related to the water utility as duly pointed out by the religious organisations as these civic problems could pose a hindrance in the smooth holding of Majalis and processions in the city during Muharram.

He said that relevant officials of KWSB, KMC, and DMCs, and Sindh Solid Waste Management Board had been summoned to attend the meeting. All these officials had been directed to resolve the pending civic issues within two days after doing consultations with each other. “If any sort of help is required from the Sindh government, then secretary of the Local Government Department should be contacted and we will render full support in this regard,” he said.

He said the meeting at the KWSB office had been convened on an emergency basis in view of the outcomes of a meeting held two days back between the ministerial committee, constituted by the Sindh chief minister, and representatives of different religious organisations and Ulema of different schools of thought, which took place to discuss issues related to congregations and processions during Muharram.

Civic Centre visit

Local government minister Ghani once again said all heads of departments of Grade 17 and above would have to attend office from 9am to 5pm; otherwise, they would be sent back home.

He issued this warning during a surprise visit to the Civic Centre where he found at 9.20am both the DGs of the SBCA and KDA absent.

Talking to media persons at the KDA office where DG KDA Samiuddin Siddiqi and DG SBCA Iftikhar Qaimkhani were absent, Ghani said he found the two DGs absent and their absence should be investigated if they were really in official meetings.

He minister said that this was his last warning and all employees had to come to office at 9am and leave at 5pm. He said he would continue to pay frequent visits to the Civic Centre. He demanded the attendance register and marked absent many officers and employees with his own hand.

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