KARACHI: A day after the mayor of Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, hinted at the possibility of his going to the public for enhancement of mayoral powers, he met Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at CM House, where the latter assured him of his government’s full support for the city’s development, officials said on Wednesday.
Mr Shah, according to a spokesman for CM House, assured the mayor of the Sindh government’s “complete backing” to the province’s only metropolitan corporation. Though, it was not clear whether the two talked about enhancement of mayoral powers –– more than what is enshrined in the existing local government law –– sources said the mayor mildly exchanged his views with the chief executive of the province.
“Mr Akhtar, who has been demanding more powers since he was sworn in, asked the chief minister for certain amendments in the present law so that the municipal system in Sindh could work efficiently,” said a source.
“A functional local government system will supplement the provincial government for progressive development portfolio,” the source quoted Mr Akhtar as saying.
‘This is my city and it belongs to me as [much as] it belongs to others’
However, the provincial government’s spokesman quoted Mr Shah as saying that he was born in Karachi, played in its streets as a boy, received education in its schools, college and university and would do everything to make it a modern city.
“This is my city and it belongs to me as it belongs to others,” said Mr Shah.
According to the spokesman the Karachi mayor had paid a courtesy call on the CM, which was the first after Mr Akhtar was released from prison as well as taking over the charge of the city’s top slot.
The chief minister assured the mayor that he would be support him. “We would be on the same page as far as the development and public issues of this city and its people are concerned,” he said.
The mayor has been unhappy with the powers the new law granted him, which does not even allow him to take care of the problem of garbage, which has afflicted the city for several years. He has too limited legal authority to take care of the city.
A day earlier at a function at the old KMC building, he had hinted that he might seek public support for his possible protest for getting more powers to serve the city.
Officials said the CM assured Mr Akhtar that the two tiers of the government would have a good working relationship and the Sindh government would take care of everything the metropolitan authorities needed to serve the city, which included timely and enhanced grants and mutual understanding on the future development portfolio of Karachi.
Mayor Waseem Akhtar, said officials at CM House, thanked the chief minister and his party (Pakistan Peoples Party) for supporting him.
“This city belongs to all of us and we have to work for its development, industrialisation and prosperity together,” the spokesman quoted Mr Shah as saying.
KP governor calls on mayor
Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, visited the KMC building and called on Mayor Waseem Akhtar.
Mr Akhtar asked Mr Jhagra to convey his request to the prime minister for the release of a special package for Karachi. He said such projects should be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that could benefit Karachi.
Mr Jhagra, officials said, assured Mr Akhtar that he would convey his message to PM Nawaz Sharif.
Mayor visits Sindh governor
The mayor visited a hospital on Wednesday and inquired after the health of Sindh governor retired Justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui, who was admitted there.
He presented a bouquet to the ailing governor and wished him early recovery.