Wahab worst mayor in Karachi’s history, says City Council opposition leader

Our Correspondent
Saturday, Jun 22, 2024

The leader of the opposition in the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) City Council, Saifuddin Advocate of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), on Friday called Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab the worst mayor in the history of the city.

He was addressing a press conference held at the KMC Building. Mubashir Hassan Zai, the parliamentary lead of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the council, JI’s Qazi Saddaruddin and others accompanied him.

Saifuddin chaired a meeting of opposition representatives before the media briefing to examine the one year progress of the mayor.

He said that defying all traditions and customs of the City Council, the opposition parties were totally neglected in the preparation of the municipality’s budget. He added that the ‘self-imposed’ mayor just shared a few statistics with him at the eleventh hour instead of taking suggestions from all parliamentary leaders.

Discussing the one-year performance, the JI leader said Wahab had promised to provide 75 sewage covers to each union committee and created hype around it, but he failed to deliver on this promise, providing only 15 covers to each committee.

He added that the mayor still needed to provide development funds to the union committees from the KMC's kitty.

Karachi generated the largest chunk of tax for Sindh but the Pakistan Peoples Party government never owned the city, he remarked.

Saifuddin said everything in the city, be they hospitals, parks, playgrounds and libraries, were in a shambles. The sewerage system had failed and most of the people of Karachi had no other option but to purchase water, he added.

He demanded devolution of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation to the town and union committee level. He also demanded devolution of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board to the town level.

The JI leader called for a forensic audit of the Competitive and Liveable City of Karachi (CLICK) project expressing his belief that corruption of unimaginable magnitude would be unearthed as a result of the audit.

The opposition also demanded inclusion of a stakeholders committee in the water corporation’s management. Saifuddin said the local bodies department had become a hub of corruption.

He said the motor vehicle tax should be given to Karachi and no new tax should be imposed on the people of the city.

Wahab meets Saifuddin

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) City Council will convene on Monday, June 24, for the presentation of the municipality’s annual budget.

The City Council session has been called at 3pm on Monday at the Council Hall.

To discuss the budget session, Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab held a meeting with the leader of the opposition in the City Council, Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Saifuddin Advocate, at his office on Friday.

The mayor said the Sindh government would soon provide a package of Rs1.5 billion for the dues of retired officers and other employees of local bodies.

He added that there was a need for adopting a joint strategy for municipal issues and the development of Karachi. Development schemes, he said, for the upcoming fiscal year would be initiated with the advice of all political parties present in the city council.

Wahab said that high-rise buildings in the city had been creating municipal problems, and many buildings were being constructed without master leases. “City Council members are requested to help bring these buildings under regulation,” he said.

KMC Municipal Commissioner Afzal Zaidi and Financial Adviser Nayab Saeed were also present during the mayor’s meeting with the JI leader.

Wahab said the budget of the KMC for the coming fiscal year would be presented in the council on June 24. During the fiscal year 2024-25, 210 ongoing development schemes in various areas of the city would be completed, and development work worth Rs2.5 billion would be carried out.

He remarked that the leases of many buildings in the Old City area had expired, and advertisements had been placed in newspapers for their renewal. The mayor informed the JI leader that necessary instructions had been issued to the KMC land department in this regard.

The case regarding the payment of electricity dues of the KMC to the K-Electric was pending in the Supreme Court, Wahab said. “We are trying to resolve this issue soon and prioritise pending matters,” he added.

The KMC owed Rs10.5 billion dues to its retired officers and employees, Wahab said, adding that a package of Rs1.5 billion from the Sindh government was expected soon for the payment of such dues.

He said the KMC had been paying the dues of retired employees from its resources and this process would continue in the future.

“However, due to the non-payment of dues, KMC officers and other employees are worried, and they want their issues resolved soon,” he said, adding that the development work should be carried out on an equal basis in all towns and union committees of Karachi.

Wahab said the top priority of the Pakistan Peoples Party was to serve the people, and for this, development works were ongoing in all parts of the city without any discrimination.

If all the members of the City Council fulfilled their responsibilities, no part of the city would be deprived of development, the mayor remarked. He expressed the hope that during the next fiscal year, members of the City Council would play an even more active role in the development works of the city.