KARACHI: The provincial capital of Sindh [Karachi] is not begging for its rights from the chief minister of Sindh, said Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar Sunday in a hard-hitting press conference.
The PTI organised an “All Stakeholders” press conference to speak out against the new Sindh local government law passed by the provincial assembly.
Critics of the Sindh government say amendments to the law will allow greater control of local bodies institutions to the provincial government. The Sindh government has refuted such criticism.
“We will come up with a strategy soon,” said Umar. “This problem does not concern a political party. It concerns a system wherein politicians come to power and become richer [at the expense of the taxpayer],” he added.
The minister said that it was necessary to “change the system rather than faces”, adding that a new system should be brought in place, one where an elected official is forced to work for the welfare of the masses.
“We will continue to raise our voices in Sindh Assembly, despite their [PPP] telling us that we are in the minority,” he said, adding that the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 needed to be amended as its provisions were in contravention to the Constitution.
“Our basic problems will not be solved till the masse are not empowered,” noted Umar, adding that it was important for local governments to be strengthened.
“Politics has been taken over by a few families; they want to stay rich and maintain their sway [over everything],” he said.
The minister cited the example of the local government system in Islamabad, saying that the mayor had powers to take decisions for the welfare of the city.
“Work is being carried out in Islamabad according to a master plan,” he added.
Despite his criticism of the Sindh government, the minister said the PTI was ready to talk to the Sindh chief minister to solve people’s problems. He said the federal government had held talks with the provincial government for its Karachi Transformation Plan.
Umar lashed out at the chief minister, saying that he had not fulfilled his promise of devolving powers at the lower level.
“Time has come for Sindh to take important decisions,” he said.
‘PPP is an enemy of Karachi and this country’
Former Karachi mayor and MQM-P leader Waseem Akhtar also spoke at the press conference, lashing out at CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah.
“The chief minister used to give me a lollipop every time I asked to meet him,” he alleged. “He did not let me develop Nehr-e-Khayyam. If he wanted to do anything good, he would have already done that Larkana or Nawabshah,” he added.
Akhtar said the PPP government receives Rs1,200bn per annum to develop the province. “Will anyone ask them where these Rs1,200bn have been spent?” he asked.
The former Karachi mayor lamented that the city paid over Rs309bn in taxes to Sindh, adding that despite that it has always been ignored.
Akhtar said that in countries around the world, mayors have all the rights and authorities to carry out development work in cities.