Akhtar bids farewell, bursts at Sindh government

From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar addressed the last press conference of his tenure here on Monday and was seen getting emotional. He claimed that the Sindh government did not want any development in the city.
Addressing the media at the head office of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), he said that over his tenure he had written “thousands” of letters to the Sindh Government, prime minister, and the president.
Akhtar, getting more emotional, said, “Who will take these? Not a single reply was given,” as he tossed away the papers.
“Karachi feeds you and your children. You have set up shop here after coming from different districts. This is Paris for you. I have seen the houses you have purchased in Defence and Clifton. Why are you inflicting torture on the people of the city? I have written thousands of letters. I am not joking, the Supreme Court should take notice, the prime minister should do something for this city.”
“I am not being dramatic. I have spent the last four years stressed because of the Sindh government and the chief minister.”
“They don’t want development, not just in Karachi but in all of Sindh. They just want to loot the city,” he said, further commenting that the provincial government had “destroyed” Larkana, Sehwan, Dadu, and Mirpurkhas. “What have they done in the past 12 years? They are nowhere to destroy this city. They are dividing it. Someone should question them.”
He also commented on the Sindh Chief Minister having a lesser mandate than him. “Half the population of Sindh, that is my mandate. My mandate is more than the chief minister and no one answers my letters?”
He also said that he was unable to fix his departments over the past four years due to a lack of funds. “If I don’t have funds, what will I do? Bring them from home?”
He talked about how in the past four years, he had not bought a car, nor let anybody else buy one. “I saved money.” Akhtar also lashed out on the prime minister for sending the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to the city to help with the situation after the monsoon rainfall.
“The prime minister saw two men drowning [in the city] on TV and sent the NDMA. PM Sahab, you should come here yourself. This city is responsible for your budget. Nothing can be done by sitting over there. Come and fix the city, nothing is achieved by forming committees,” he said, referring to the new body formed for the city’s betterment.
Akhtar had previously, on August 10, informed reporters that his tenure was ending on August 28 and that he did not foresee local government elections to be held anytime soon.
Four days later, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari made a formal announcement that his party’s government in Sindh would control the administrative affairs of Karachi following the completion of the term of the elected local governments, hinting at possible local government elections.
Last time, the PPP, which has been ruling Sindh for the past over 12 years, took five years to hold the LG elections across the province that too on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2015 after the dissolution of the then district government system in 2010.