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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Mustafa Kamal turns Karachi power show into sit-in against local govt law

Mustafa Kamal turns Karachi power show into sit-in against local govt law

KARACHI: The Pak Sarzameen Party held a power show on Sunday against the controversial Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Act 2021 and announced staging a sit-in until the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party gave resources necessary for an empowered local government system.

However, the party cancelled its planned march towards Chief Minister House and instead staged a sit-in at busy Fawara Chowk on Deen Muhammad Wafai Road.

A large number of PSP workers and supporters, including women and children, reached the venue to participate in the PSP’s protest demonstration. PSP president Anis Kaimkhani and other leaders were also present.

Carrying PSP flags and Mustafa Kamal’s portraits, the protesters chanted slogans against the ruling PPP and its LG system.

Mustafa Kamal turns Karachi power show into sit-in against local govt law

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kamal announced that he would not end his protest until the PPP-led “racist and corrupt” Sindh government handed budgeting powers and management control of civic departments to the local government and provided funds in accordance with the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) formula.

“The PPP cannot fool us. Until our demands are met, we will continue to sit here,” he said, warning against taking action against peaceful protesters.

He said that he was not taking the protest to CM House since cricket teams participating in the ongoing Pakistan Super League were staying at nearby hotels. “We cannot tarnish Pakistan’s image by protesting outside the CM House.”

He said that a delegation of the PPP visited PSP headquarters a week ago and listened to the party’s demands. The PPP delegation had accepted 70 per cent of our demands a week ago but they did not agree on our key demands, he said.

The former Karachi mayor added that the way Pakistan was brought to a standstill after 18th Amendment to the Constitution as administratively and financially, the country was unable to function.

He said that the original purpose of the 18th Amendment was not fulfilled as provinces got powers but did not devolve them to the grassroots level. “The provinces are not giving 56 per cent of the money they receive from the federation under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award to districts.”

He said that the federation was left with just 44pc for repayment of foreign loans and expenditure on defence. “While these are not the problems of the provinces, the chief ministers consider the money received in the NFC award as their private money.”

He said that the Sindh CM got Rs1,000 billion every year through NFC while Rs200bn the province earned from Karachi alone through taxes. The annual revenue of the Sindh government was Rs1,200 billion, but the CM was not transferring resources to districts and spent the money at his own discretion, he claimed.

About the LG system, he said that without an agreed upon PFC formula, all institutions under the elected mayor were meaningless.

“The PPP is happy to hand over institutions to mayor’s office, but the real catch is their resources which the PPP-led corrupt and bigoted government is not ready to transfer to the elected mayor. We need resources too. The PPP will have to give powers and resources to the people from Karachi to Kashmore,” he said.

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