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Sindh govt to resist if Centre tries to hold direct election for mayor


May 13, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s idea of holding direct election for the mayor of Karachi was impossible to implement and the Sindh government will resist any such move with full force.

Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani said this as he spoke to The News on Sunday. According to Ghani, the federal government had so for not officially notified the Sindh government of its new plan regarding the local government elections. He said the Sindh government would not accept any such order of the Centre regarding direct polls to elect the city’s mayor.

Commenting on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent statement in which he hinted that tax collection from Karachi would be the mayor’s responsibility, the local government minister said at present various agencies were collecting taxes and even the mayor was also responsible for the collection of some of the taxes.

Ghani remarked that it was too early to make any remarks about the possible new law regarding tax collection. We have to wait and see what kind of law the federal government introduces in this regard, he said.

The local government minister was of the view that it was not possible to hold direct election for the mayor as Karachi had a population of 16 million and counting votes of so many people for one post would create chaos. He declared any direct election for the mayor to be unconstitutional. Regarding the Sindh government’s strategy to resist any such move, Ghani said, “Let the new law come officially first.”

Discussing the anti-encroachment drive in the city, Ghani said the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation was preparing for another anti-encroachment operation. He maintained that he had not received any court order regarding the anti-encroachment operation and added that if all court orders were implemented in this regard, it would make poor shopkeepers starve.

The local government minister said already tons of debris of the razed encroachments was lying all over the city and the mayor had been blaming the Sindh government for that. Responding to a query about the Supreme Court order to the Sindh government for the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway within a month, he said the Sindh chief minister had already replied to this.

It may be noted here that the Sindh government and Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar have been at loggerheads over the issue of mayoral powers. Since assuming his office, the mayor has been demanding more powers; whereas, the Sindh government has been rejecting such demands, saying that the mayor has all the powers under the local government law.

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