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March 29, 2020

Mayor demands strengthening network of local govts to fight against coronavirus

Karachi

March 29, 2020

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar has demanded to strengthen the network of elected local government representatives in Karachi in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The elected representatives should be part of those committees which are working to control the pandemic, he said.

“Only those are elected at the local level can understand the necessities of their constituencies in a proper manner,” he pointed out, adding that only elected representatives could reach those who were in financial need, according to a statement issued on Saturday.

He stressed the need to mobilise the elected local government representatives to reach houses at every nook and cranny of the city. “A network consisting local government representatives needs to be constituted immediately for dispatching relief goods and food items to the poor,” Akhtar said.

He said if this was done, the government wouldn’t need any other organisation or force for this purpose. The local government representatives were always in the best knowledge of the society’s needs.

The mayor said that more than 300 chairmen of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) union committees and councilors were in the best position to serve the Sindh government in its relief work. “We are ready to extend all kind of support to the government,” he added.

“The entire world is facing a tough time in which the local governments are playing their role.” The KMC has served as much as it could in its resources and finances. “Hospitals are functional, whereas, city wardens, the fire brigade and rescue departments are all performing their duties.” he said. The mayor also asked the citizens to stay at home as the most effective way to prevent yourself from the virus was staying in isolation.

On Wednesday, a similar demand had come from Pak Sarzameen Party Chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal, urged the federal government to introduce an ordinance to activate and empower as many as 84,000 elected local government representatives from across the country to seek their help in the joint fight against the coronavirus spread.

Kamal had said the Chinese government had battled against the spread of various by empowering the local government systems and Pakistan should follow the pattern of the neighbouring country by using all resources for the welfare of the people through municipal governments.

He had expressed these views while reacting to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent video conference with parliamentary leaders in which he emphasised the need for volunteers to help the people.

“In case of an inevitable lockdown, only local bodies representatives know which house in their area needs ration or assistance,” said Kamal, who has served as the Karachi mayor. While offering his support to the federal and provincial governments as well as the law enforcement agencies in their collective fight against the pandemic, Kamal had said the PSP was the first political party to propose that in the present situation, the government must mobilise the 84 thousand elected local bodies’ representatives through an ordinance with a vision to ensure all-out assistance to the people both in villages and cities, and determine the future course of the action based on the information received from them.

“The example of China is in front of us, where the federal and provincial governments used all their resources to deal with the coronavirus through local governments and they have eventually succeeded.”

In this crucial time, the elected councillors and chairmen could effectively provide relief to the people as they obtained vast knowledge and detailed information of their respective areas, which the volunteers couldn’t do, he had said.