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KMC council passes resolutions on revised budget, LG powers, others

City council sailed through 10 resolutions without proper debate on Tuesday taking advantage of the opposition’s walkout.

The resolutions included revised budget estimates for the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), demand for local government powers under Article 140-A of the Constitution and threats being received by Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) parliamentary leader Aslam Afridi presented the revised budget estimates of Rs23 billion for the KMC.

However, opposition leader Karamullah Waqasi, who is a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party, pointed out that the revised budget has been prepared without taking the opposition into confidence. The revised budget should have been debated and, after the formation of a committee, it should have been presented before the council, he said.

A few other opposition members also complained of not getting the budget copies before the city council’s session. Mayor Akhtar, who was conducting the session, pointed out that all the budget copies along with the agenda of the session were dispatched to the members on January 18. After a five-minute break during the session, Akhtar left for a meeting and deputy mayor Arshad Vohra took over.

On the budget, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Firdous Shamim Naqvi remarked why the mayor cries over the KMC’s poor financial condition even though they were presenting a surplus budget. Vohra explained that the surplus budget is only Rs20 million, which is not even enough for one district. The actual budget, he said, was drafted by the Pakistan Peoples Party administrator and it has only been revised based on actual collections. Naqvi pointed out, however, that the revised budget cannot be passed without the formation of a finance committee.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami chairperson Junaid Mukati pointed out that the mayor meets all the political parties to get consensus in order to get powers from the Sindh government but, when it comes to implementation, the opposition is ignored.  The MQM is still following its old tactics, he claimed, using an Urdu idiom that meant a leopard cannot change it spots. The analogy created pandemonium in the session as MQM and JI representatives exchanged heated words. Later, Mukati apologised but Waqasi walked out.

After the opposition’s walkout, MQM’s Muhammad Hanif’s resolution regarding Article 140-A of the Constitution was presented before the council. According to it, each province shall establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local government. Hanif said that all the local government departments should come under the control of the city mayor. Another resolution by Hanif asking the Sindh government to issue honorarium to the mayor and deputy mayor Karachi, district chairmen, district vice chairmen and members of KMC, DMCs and union committees was also unanimously and swiftly passed. A resolution seeking security for Akhtar from the Sindh government was also passed.

Azam, Oonib. KMC council passes resolutions on revised budget, LG powers, others. The Express Tribune, January 25, 2017.

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