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September 6, 2020

Call for controlling population, empowering local govts in city

Karachi

September 6, 2020

Karachi has been devastated as a result of the policies of the federal and provincial governments, the groups occupying the local bodies and the powers that be. Legislation should be made to prevent unrestrained and unlimited population migration from foreign countries and other provinces.

This was stated by the Save Sindh Committee (SSC) during a consultative meeting organised by it at the Pakistan Medical Association House.

The meeting deliberated over solutions to the problems of Karachi. It was presided over by veteran trade unionist Usman Baloch.

It was said that the federal government was usurping the powers of the provincial government while the provincial government was not transferring powers to the local bodies. According to international standards, the establishment of an autonomous municipal corporation at the grassroots level was the only permanent solution to the problems of Karachi, the meeting concluded.

The meeting was attended by trade unionists, social scientists, scholars and writers. Abdul Khaliq Junejo, the head of the SSC, said that the responsibility for the problems lied with the federal and provincial governments. He said legislation was needed to curb the influx of people from other areas as population growth was exacerbating Karachi's problems. Comprehensive legislation was needed to address the issue, he stated.

He added that FATA was under the federal control when there was severe chaos there for years. Will those who had demanded secession of Karachi from Sindh demand secession of FATA from the federation, he asked.

Labour leader Nasir Mansoor said the reorganisation of the state on the basis of the 1940 resolution of Pakistan was necessary.

He said the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation must establish its supremacy over the entire city.

Urban planner Arif Hassan said the number of people settling in Karachi from outside would increase in the future. He said Karachi was spreading horizontally till the 80s but now it had been spreading upwards.

He maintained that General Pervez Musharraf's local government system did not have a system of accountability, which led to a historic looting.

Writer Noorul Huda Shah said that Sindhis had welcomed the people who came from India in 1947. In Sindh, Urdu speakers and Sindhis could solve problems through love statements, she added.

Scholar Dr Jaffar Ahmed said that the 18th amendment should have clarified the autonomy of the local bodies along with the provincial autonomy. He added that industries should be set up in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and other areas to prevent outsiders’ influx in Karachi.

He said that an empowered local government system should be established in Karachi as per international standards.

Rights activist Karamat Ali said the Sindh government did not recognise the local governments.

He remarked that new reforms and unemployment allowance were necessary and the establishment of an empowered local government system was imperative.