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September 12, 2019

Centre did not consult Sindh on Karachi committee: CM


September 12, 2019

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah lamented on Wednesday that the federal government did not take the provincial government on board while constituting a strategic committee to resolve the issues of Karachi.

“Like newsmen, I have heard about the constitution of the strategic committee on news channels,” the CM said as he spoke to the media along with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail after offering Fateha at Mazar-e-Quaid on the occasion of the 71st death anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

To a question, he said he had heard the news about the strategic committee formed by the federal government on the affairs of Karachi. “I don’t know what the committee will do and what its mandate is,” he said, adding that neither was he consulted before nor taken on board after the formation of the committee.

The governor explained that the committee had been formed under Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem and its task was to examine the job of various civic authorities such as the Karachi Port Trust, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), District Municipal Corporations and others that were operating in the city.

Ismail added that the committee would find whether or not a single authority should be made to carry out civic functions and submit its recommendations to the federal government.

The CM said the lifting of garbage and sweeping of roads were the jobs of the third tier of the local government. He added that the KMC had control over various major storm water drains and it needed to maintain them, and some of the smaller nullahs were with the DMCs while the sweeping of the roads was the responsibility of the DMCs.

Shah claimed when the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) was created, the city was generating around 4,000 tons of garbage but now it was generating around 16,000 tons daily. He added that the DMCs that had entrusted the lifting of trash and garbage to the SSWMB had comparatively ensured cleanliness in their limits.

“The SSWMB did not snatch the cleanliness work from the DMCs forcibly but it was given to them through council resolutions passed by DMCs,” he said.

He brushed aside the impression of opposing the cleanliness drive started by Federal Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi and said he had just opposed dumping the filth taken out from the drains on the main roads or near parks as it further aggravated the unhygienic condition of the city and resulted in infestation of flies and mosquitoes, which was controlled only after the local bodies started fumigation.

Tribute to Quaid

Shah said Pakistan was created by the father of the nation and now “it becomes our national responsibility to make this country a peaceful, prosperous state where people of different religions, languages, and sects can enjoy equal rights.”

He said he and his cabinet members and the governor had visited Mazar-e-Quaid to pay him respect on the occasion of his 71st death anniversary. “He was a great leader, his vision and teachings are enough to make this country democratically strong,” he said.

The CM also lauded Kashmiris for continuing their struggle against Indian atrocities. “You are our brothers and sisters and we as a nation will support your cause and raise voice for you,” he said. Ismail also paid rich tributes to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the occasion.

Cleanliness drive

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani criticised the Centre-backed Let’s Clean Karachi campaign and said if Prime Minister Imran Khan came to know about the ill effects of the campaign, he might dismiss Zaidi, the federal minister who initiated the drive, for his bad performance.

People of Karachi were still facing repercussions of Zaidi’s cleanliness campaign, Ghani claimed. He said the campaign had been launched with the aim of lifting 150,000 tons of waste from the city but in reality just 13,000 tons were disposed of at the landfill sites.

Commenting on the formation of another committee formed by the federal government for Karachi, Ghani said all that the Centre should do for Karachi was to provide Rs162 billion to the city that was pledged by the PM in March this year.

The provincial information minister added that instead of providing the promised Rs162 billion to Karachi, the federal government reserved only Rs12 billion for the city in the federal budget and in reality only Rs3 billion would be spent on the development of Karachi.

Ghani said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had also announced a campaign ‘Chamakta Damakta Karachi’ to establish 300 reverse-osmosis water filtration plants in the city. “But this claim also proved to be a deception much like the development projects of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

He said the Karachi mayor had been made a member of the new committee but he was also dissatisfied with the move and that was why he had seriously criticised it.

Ghani said the federal government did not have the authority to amend the provincial local government law and the Sindh government would put up resistance in case such a move was made.

He said the collection of local taxes could be devolved to the local governments in the province if the municipal agencies showed performance. He also announced that some members of the Sindh cabinet and MPAs of the Pakistan Peoples Party would stage a protest sit-in outside the Punjab Chief Minister House in Lahore on September 14 if the Punjab government did not comply with the production order for MPA Faryal Talpur to ensure her presence in the Sindh Assembly session to be held on September 13.