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August 21, 2020

Sindh cabinet stirs yet another controversy: 7th district Keamari established in Karachi

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August 21, 2020

Sindh cabinet stirs yet another controversy: 7th district Keamari established in Karachi

KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet on Thursday approved to establish the seventh district in Karachi after bifurcating the existing district West. The decision stirred strong political reaction coming in the wake of the expiring term of local bodies and is likely to impact the outcome of local government elections, scheduled in the next four months.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, chaired the meeting of the provincial cabinet held here at the CM House on Thursday. The meeting was attended by allprovincial ministers, advisers, Sindh chief secretary and others.

The cabinet was told that the district West has a huge area and has the highest population of 3,914,757. It comprises seven sub-divisions, Manghopir, SITE, Baldia, Orangi, Mominabad, Harbour and Maripur, seven circles, nine Tapas and 23 Dehs which calls for better administrative management for the convenience of public.

Later, the cabinet approved the creation of Keamari district comprising four sub-divisions of SITE, Baldia, Harbour and Maripur with a population of 1,833,864. The new district will have three circles, five Tapas and 11 dehs. This new district has some visible pockets of PPP strongholds.

CM Shah said the districts of Karachi has peculiar names such as South, East, West, Central, etc, which should be renamed like Nazimabad district in place of Central and South could be renamed as Karachi. He also directed the Board of Revenue to suggest new names for the districts.

Furthermore, the Sindh chief minister, on the recommendation of some cabinet members, directed the Board of Revenue to prepare a comprehensive proposal for creation of more districts in the province. Those who have more population and vast areas should be bifurcated in two for the convenience of the local population.

Murad Ali Shah said that Khairpur was another large district of Sindh, which must be bifurcated into two. However “the District Khairpur has some constitutional protection against its division,” he said and directed the law department to explore ways to create another district from Khairpur city.

The cabinet was told that the term of local bodies in Sindh would be completed on August 29, 2020. The cabinet authorized the local government minister to appoint administrators in the local councils for the interim period till their elections are held for their smooth performance and seek post-facto approval from the chief minister.

The CM told the cabinet that the ‘controversial’ Sindh Local Government Act-2013 would be further amended to strengthen the local bodies. He formed a sub-committee comprising Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah, his Adviser on Works and Services Nisar Khuhro, Adviser Law Murtaza Wahab to furnish their recommendations within a month.

Meanwhile, the chief minister recommended holding elections in two provincial assembly seats of Malir and Umerkot which had fallen vacant after the deaths of MPAs Ali Mardan Shah and Murtaza Baloch. The polls were delayed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cabinet asked the ECP to extend duration of polling from eight to 12 hours due to SOPs when they are held.

Regarding the import of wheat, the chief minister told the cabinet that the wheat consumption in Sindh was recorded at 5.6 MMT (million metric tons) of which 3.8 MMT was locally produced, leaving a shortfall of two MMTs. Earlier, this shortfall was covered through the wheat from Punjab but this time around it has mysteriously disappeared from that province and they were forced to import 1.5 MMT through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan. The cabinet also authorised the food minister to start releasing wheat from the first week of September.

The cabinet approved a grant of Rs1.272 billion for the District Headquarter Hospital, Badin, which is being operated on public-private partnership mode. It also approved the proposal of Rs300 million grant for the Aman Healthcare Service and directed them to induct 50 more ambulances in their fleet.

Regarding the critical issue of domiciles and Permanent Resident Certificate (PRCs), the cabinet formed a five-member Sindh PRC appellate committee under the home secretary to sort out the matter of their issue to non-residents in the province. The committee also forwarded 40 appeals from District Larkana, 26 from Kashmore after reviewing such cases.

The Sindh cabinet, on the recommendation of the federal government, approved the amendments and introduction of new laws to control money laundering and terror financing as a requirement under the Financial Action Task Force.