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Mayor Karachi now sacks Mustafa Kamal

Top Story

August 28, 2019

KARACHI: In a tragicomic manifestation of the state of populist politics being played over garbage disposal without any visible change, within 18 hours of issuing the notification appointing Mustafa Kamal as project director garbage, Mayor Wasim Akhtar suspended the former mayor Karachi and Pak Sarzameen Party’s (PSP) chief Mustafa Kamal from the post because of his attitude.

In the earlier rounds, the Government of Sindh and the federal minister Ali Zaidi had fought a duel over TV and social media to look good with little positive change. Back to the present bout: On Monday Mayor Wasim Akhtar had designated Kamal as the project director garbage for 90 days through a formal notification. However, on Tuesday morning through another notification, he suspended Kamal “for acting beyond jurisdiction and authority that created unrest. I, therefore, place the services of Syed Mustafa Kamal, voluntary project director under suspension with immediate effect.”

Later, addressing a press conference, Akhtar said his notification to appoint Kamal as PD garbage was exploited. “I sacked him because of his bad behavior,” he said.

He said he wants to resolve the issues of the port city and sought help from all those whom he thought would be able to support including Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Zaidi and Bahria Town. “I offered everyone to work beyond politics,” he said and added keeping all the personal and political differences aside and in good faith, he issued an order to make Kamal Project Director Garbage. “But sadly, my good faith was exploited and politicized,” he said and added the attitude of Kamal signifies that he wasn’t interested in cleaning the city, but wanted to do politics. Kamal took out rallies with party workers and started swearing at him. “He should have given a proper joining in the municipal office after the notification,” Akhtar said and added that Frontier Works Organization, Bahria Town, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) all are busy cleaning the garbage. What plan, he asked, Kamal has with which he was claiming to clean the city in 90 days. If he had any formula, Akhtar said that Kamal should have come to his office. “I was surprised to see his presser in the morning. He [Kamal] had started undertaking China-cutting in KMC,” he said and added Kamal behaved like the head of districts also.

The order, the mayor explained, was issued from the KMC, whereas Kamal reached the District Municipal Corporation Central, which does not fall under the mayor. He should have reported to KMC, “But now he’s not even eligible for that, as he’s an ill-mannered person.”

Akhtar requested the chief minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah to give the amount to DMCs that was handed over to SSWMB. This way, he said, that DMCs will be able to lift garbage to landfill sites easily.

Reacting to withdrawal of mayor’s notification appointing him as the Project Director, Garbage, PSP chief Mustafa Kamal said: "I was removed because I sought a briefing from the financial adviser as to how many sweepers were working, what amount of money goes to the head of salaries, and whereabouts of those sweepers, maintenance and fuel cost of machinery. But they did not answer, as there were no sweepers working, and the machinery was not operating.”

Addressing to a press conference along with party president Anees Qaim Khani at the Pakistan Secretariat, Kamal said “After my removal, the mayor and four district chairmen should also tender resignation as they failed to perform."

Reiterating his resolve to clean the city in 90 days, Pak Sarzameen Party Chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal said the PSP will not to leave Karachiites alone. He said he would have loved to work for the people even at a lower post.

“I want to tell Karachi's residents, we are still committed to cleaning Karachi. I am not doing politics on Karachi issues; if I did, I would have never called my foe as my boss. The issue is not of powers, but of character, and it has been proven on Tuesday,” he said. He said Karachi is on the verge of destruction and thousands of people could die of bacterial diseases due to the negligence of the government. “The city has more mosquitoes than the population.”

Kamal said he is saying it for the past three years that the Karachi issue is not linked with the transfers of powers. “It is an issue of character and corruption,” he said. The former mayor also said that Karachi’s residents have to stand up against the failed leadership, which is turning the city into a garbage dump. He said Karachi has become the hub of corruption. He also questioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s silence over the corruption in Karachi.

Asking Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s leaders, especially convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, to stake notice of involvement of his party men in corruption, Kamal said the corrupt elements in the party are defaming their party. He alleged that District East chairman, who is from MQM-P, has purchased a house worth Rs160 million. “We are asking him that where he got this money,” he said.

Plunging into the raging controversy, Spokesman Government of Sindh and Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh on Law, Environment and Coastal Development Barrister Murtaza Wahab said Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar must be resign from his mayorship because there is no moral ground for him to continue his work. He was addressing media persons at the Media Corner in the Sindh Assembly Building.

The Sindh government spokesperson said Mustafa Kamal accepted the challenge of Mayor Karachi but Waseem Akhtar dramatically escaped because he knew he could not survive over accountability of spending money allocated to KMC. Mustafa Kamal tried to work but he was not allowed to do so, he said.

The sanitary situation in Karachi is far from perfect. To put it mildly, Pakistan's largest city and economic heart present the picture of a giant garbage dump due to lack of interest by Waseem Akhtar. The MQM-stressed city administration is indulging in an ugly blame game about who is responsible for the state of affairs in Karachi. To make things more interesting, the PTI led federal government has also jumped into the fray of taking pot shorts. The Sindh government had launched a Blue Jacket announcement of its own to prevent littering.