Home News Analysis Karachi no more city of lights, it looks like big chunk of...

Karachi no more city of lights, it looks like big chunk of slum: SC

“There are no trees, no greenery, no parks, no playgrounds, no roads, no hospitals, no universities, no schools, no colleges except those which were made by the government somewhere about 40 years ago,” the judgment read. The chief minister is told to sit with Karachi mayor and other civic bodies for solution of city’s problems.

Karachi mayor

News Desk |

Supreme Court has ordered the Sindh Chief Minister to sit with the Karachi mayor and all civic agencies to promptly resolve the issues so that the city is saved from a massive collapse. The top court’s two-judge bench comprising Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel has observed that it seemed that the provincial government and local civic agencies do not appear interested in working in the metropolis.

Several directions and observations have come in the recent judgment wherein the court has expressed serious concerns over the civic infrastructure of the megacity – once called ‘city of lights’. The order deals with the case regarding removal of illegal encroachments from parks, playgrounds and other amenity spaces in the city. The case was heard at SC’s Karachi registry.

Mayor’s work includes making it easier for people to move in and around the city, improving environment, helping the capital’s businesses to thrive, providing people with more affordable housing and giving young people in London more opportunities.

“There are no trees, no greenery, no parks, no playgrounds, no roads, no hospitals, no universities, no schools, no colleges except those which were made by the government somewhere about 40 years ago,” the judgment read.

“No water, no sewerage, no safe and secure and decent recreation, and shopping areas. There is on all roads katcha or pukka dirt, filth, heaps of garbage, sewerage water, defaced walls, incomplete and unpainted ghostly haunted structures, ruined buildings in state of imminent collapse, stray dogs menace, no fumigation of the city to rid itself from dangerous life-threatening germs and mosquitoes. Graveyard spaces have become scarce,” it added.

“It is no more a city of lights which is being portrayed by the city administration nor is this the city of gardens. Karachi has no semblance of a city rather it looks like a big chunk of a slum,” the judges stated in the judgment.

Read more: Pakistani origin Mayor displays what’s best about his city, London

Subsequently, the court has ordered the Sindh Chief Minister to sit with the Karachi mayor and all civic agencies to resolve the issues with “absolute promptness” to save the city from massive collapse.

Mayor has no Powers: Karachi Mayor Tells SC

During the course of hearing, the judgment stated, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said he had no power to do any work for the city as the Sindh government had taken away all his powers and the city was being run by the secretaries. According to a media report, he informed the bench that the home secretary was doing the development work of the city although the rules of business did not provide for any such work being done by him.

The mayor of London sets the budget and is responsible for making the city a better place for everyone who visits, lives or works in the city.

The bench noted that it was strange that secretaries, who were supposed to look after the whole province to attend to their respective work, rather had been allowed to work for the development of Karachi.

Sindh Government Takes Away Mayor’s Powers

Following the local bodies elections in Karachi in 2015, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) municipal functions and powers were taken away by the Sindh government, an English daily reported. After the 18th Amendment, the paper stated, the provinces were made autonomous but they failed to delegate powers to the local government.

Resultantly, the elected KMC’s city council has no powers in areas and functions falling under the jurisdiction of Sindh Building Control Authority, master plan department, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Lyari Development Authority, Malir Development Authority, Karachi Development Authority and Sindh Solid Waste Management Board.

Read more: May 12 carnage: Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar indicted

Under the Local Government Ordinance 2001, the city mayor was the chairperson of all the civic agencies by virtue of his/her position. Before the Local Government Act 2013, the departments were taken out of the KMC’s jurisdiction and since their separation, the powers lie with the Sindh government. Even the budget that the council will pass can be amended, modified or changed by the Sindh government.

Role of London’s Mayor

The mayor of London sets the budget and is responsible for making the city a better place for everyone who visits, lives or works in the city. According to Mayor of London’s website, the mayor is elected every four years and works for changing London for the better, setting the vision for the city, setting budgets to realize his vision, working in partnership to improve the capital and championing London and Londoners.

Mayor’s work includes making it easier for people to move in and around the city, improving environment, helping the capital’s businesses to thrive, providing people with more affordable housing and giving young people in London more opportunities.

Read more: The Mayor and Bishop of London hosts first multi-faith Iftar at…

The mayor sets an overall vision for London. He has a duty to create plans and policies for the capital covering arts & culture, business & economy, environment, fire, health, housing & land, planning, policing & crime, regeneration, sport, transport and creating more opportunities to young people. His other priorities include higher education, foreign investment and attracting events and conferences to London. For these reasons, the individual is as important as the policies, if not more.