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Direct election for Karachi mayor not humanly possible: Ghani

November 27, 2021

KARACHI: The direct election for mayor in a city like Karachi is not humanly possible given its massive size and so the regular method of electing the mayor through the city council has been retained in the newly passed Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani stated this on Friday while talking to media persons along with Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah after the Sindh Assembly had passed the new local government amendment bill.

The two ministers informed media persons that the new amendment bill had been passed by the House so that the next local government elections could be held in the province in March 2022.

Responding to a question, the information minister said Karachi was an enormously big city with over 20 constituencies of the National Assembly and so if there would be a direct election for mayor, it would be highly troublesome for the mayoral candidates to carry out their electoral campaigns in the entire city.

It was definitely not possible for someone to seek votes from the entire city for a mayoral election held through direct vote, he remarked, adding that the time would prove that any plan to hold direct elections for city mayors in other parts of the country was also not feasible.

Ghani was of the view that holding direct elections for mayors was not possible in the same way it was not possible to hold direct elections to select prime ministers and chief ministers.The local government minister said that as per the democratic tradition, it was always the prerogative of the elected councils to choose the leader of the house, the mayor, and the same authority of the city council had been retained in the new amendment law.

He said the new amendment bill had been passed by the assembly hurriedly in view of the deadline given by the Election Commission of Pakistan for fresh delimitations in the province for the local government elections.

The amendment bill was aimed at further empowerment of the municipal institutions in the province, Shah said, adding that the town system in the local government setup of Karachi had been revived as demanded by all the opposition political parties in the province, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamaat-e-Islami.

The new mayor of Karachi would have an official role in the affairs of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and Sindh Building Control Authority as it had been demanded by the opposition, the local government minister maintained.

He explained that the Sindh government had agreed to hold the next local government elections in Sindh despite its serious reservations about the last census results.Shah also rejected the opposition’s allegation that they had not been given copies of the new amendment law before its passage by the House. He said opposition lawmakers had submitted their suggestions to improve the local government system of the province after they had received copies of the bill.

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