Former mayor Mustafa Kamal has said that corruption is behind Karachi’s garbage crisis, calling for the resignations of Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar and district chairmen.
Kamal held a press conference on Tuesday, in response to Akhtar’s decision to suspend him from the post of project director for garbage less than a day after his appointment. Akhtar had said that he is suspending the PSP leader because of his attitude.
“It’s not about authority, it’s about corruption,” Kamal remarked, and accused Akhtar and the district chairmen of putting millions of rupees in their own pockets instead of paying salaries to sweepers and spending it on the maintenance of the city.
“They are scared that appointing me to the position would have revealed their secrets,” he said.
Mayor Karachi and the four district chairmen should resign, he said, adding that they should present themselves in an accountability court.
Kamal said he was ready to work with the existing resources and clean the city. He added that he received calls from several political leaders and NGOs who were willing to help him clean the city. However, he wanted to prove that change can be brought about without any outside help.
“When I received the notification, I was ready to work day and night,” he said, adding that he started to work as soon as he was appointed.
Kamal said that he called the head of municipal services and the financial advisor of the district government to get the list of last months’ salaries of sweepers and the various maintenance costs. However, they refused to meet him because Akhtar had told them not to. “The mayor did not pick up my call either.”
Talking about the time when he served the city as its mayor, he said, “I served the city when everyone was asleep. I didn’t care for money. I developed hospitals, road and flyovers.”
Kamal said he is not asking for parks, flyovers, underpasses, schools or roads, but rather for the basic need of garbage collection.
“My children are dying,” he said, referring to the rise of illnesses in the city. He added that hundreds of children are falling sick every day.
“I am ready to give my life for Karachi,” he remarked, adding that the whole country will be ruined if Karachi is destroyed.
He said he didn’t think twice when accepting the position. “I didn’t make this an issue of ego and instead accepted the position even though I have been the mayor of Karachi, MPA, Senator and right now I am the chairman of a party,” he added.
He thanked the people who reached out to him to help him with the cleanliness project. “I would like to thank all MQM employees and people who have faith in me,” he said, adding that some MQM leaders told him about all the resources that are not being used and the corruption taking place.
Kamal requested the Prime Minister to intervene. “You should come to Karachi,” he urged Imran Khan, while also asking the Sindh governor and chief minister to take notice.
“People are making fun of Karachi by saying that only flies will be left here instead of humans,” he said.