The Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Peoples Party are fielding candidates for the deputy mayor whose election is scheduled Thursday, April 18.
Arshad Vohra was the deputy mayor but the Election Commission disqualified him on March 13 as he left his party, the MQM-P and joined the Pak Sarzameen Party led by former mayor Mustafa Kamal.
Dr Vohra had been elected as the UC-49 chairperson in Karachi’s District Central. The then MQM-P convener Dr Farooq Sattar had approached ECP for Dr Vohra’s disqualification after he switched loyalties on October 29, 2017. The de-seated PSP leader has filed a petition against ECP’s decision in the Islamabad High Court.
MQM-P’s Arshad Hasan and PPP’s Karamullah Waqasi will now compete for the slot.
The votes will be cast by the 300 elected representatives of the Karachi city council. They are 227 men and 73 women. One presiding officer, two assistant presiding officers and two polling officers will oversee the process. Two polling booths (one for men and another for women) have been set up.
Provincial Election Commissioner Muhammad Yousuf Khan Khattak reviewed the arrangements on Tuesday and declared them “satisfactory”. All ballot papers have been sent to staffers.
Who are the candidates?
Hasan was elected as the chairperson from UC-24 in District East in 2015 local bodies elections. Before his deputy mayor nomination, Hasan was KMC’s land committee chairperson.
Hasan says the Sindh Government is not ready to pass due powers to the third tier of the government. He reasons that this why the MQM-P has filed a petition over devolution of powers in the Supreme Court under Article 140-A of the Constitution.
“After being electing as the deputy mayor, I will strengthen the mayor’s hands and raise a voice in the City Council to give due powers to the KMC,” he told SAMAA Digital.
He spoke about how difficult it is to work in the KMC without having control over civic organisations, including the KDA, KWSB, SBCA and SSWMB.
Waqasi was elected as the chairperson for UC-31 in the 2015 local bodies polls.
He says the issues of the masses have yet to be discussed in the KMC City Council sessions so far. “In the last three years, no legislation has been done in the sessions,” he told SAMAA Digital. He said KMC has shown zero performance and made zero recoveries.
“Where did the funds from KMC’s budget go in these last three years?” he asked.
He claimed that some members of the treasury bench will support him in the deputy mayor elections. The opposition parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema Islam and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will also support me, he said. “Around 1,800 ghost employees are still working in KMC,” said Waqasi, adding that the civic body’s hospitals and fire brigade department have been destroyed.
No planning and discussion has been done yet for the Karachi Master Plan, water treatment plants or transport problems, he said.
What is the job of a deputy mayor?
The Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 requires the deputy mayor to chair the City Council session in the mayor’s absence and act as the “custodian” of the KMC.
“The mayor can assign any special task to the deputy mayor,” explained Secretary to Mayor Ansar Siddiqui, giving the example of how Mayor Wasim Akhtar gave powers to Dr Vohra to look after matters relating to the KMC’s medical department.
Dr Vohra had to look after the affairs of KMC when Akhtar was in jail in 39 cases. Dr Vohra had the charge of mayor from September 1, 2016 to November 16, 2016.