Karachi is now home to seven districts. Keamari district has been carved out of West district.
The Sindh government made the new district after approval of the provincial cabinet.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced on Thursday the formation of the new district. The 19-member Sindh Cabinet approved it unopposed. They all belong to the Pakistan Peoples Party.
What areas come under the new Keamari district?
Keamari, SITE, Baldia, Mauripur and Karachi Fish Harbor are part of the new district.
The Sindh government bifurcated West district into two. It earlier had a population of around 4 million with major areas consisting of Keamari, Baldia Town, SITE and Orangi. There were a total of 46 union councils in District West, of which 22 were in the control of MQM-P.
Now, SITE, Baldia, Mauripur and Keamari are part of District Keamari. This means Gulshan-e-Ghazi, Ittehad Town, Islam Nagar, Nai-abadi, Saeedabad, Muslim Mujahid Colony, Mohajir Camp and Rasheedabad of Baldia Town fall under the new district.
Other areas in Keamari district are Bhutta Village, Sikandarabad, Sultanabad, Baba Bhit Island, Machar Colony, Mauripur, Shershah, Gabo Pat, Pak Colony, Old Golimar, Jahanabad, Metrovile, Bawani Chali, Frontier Colony, Banaras Colony, Qasba Aligarh and Islamia Colony.
So District West is now left with Orangi and its adjacent areas, including Mominabad, Hijrat Colony, Hanifabad, Muhammad Nagar, Madina Colony, Ghaziabad, Chishti Nagar, Bilal Colony, Iqbal Baloch Colony, Gabol Colony, Daata Nagar, Mujahidabad Colony and Baloch Goth.
With the introduction of the Sindh Local Government Ordinance in 2001, there were 18 towns introduced in Karachi under the City District Government, Karachi.
District West was divided into four towns, including Keamari, SITE, Baldia and Orangi from 2001-2009.
In 2013, the Sindh government introduced the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 and restored district wise positions again.
Initially, there were five districts in Karachi (East, West, Central, South and Malir).
In 2013, the Sindh government introduced a sixth district – Korangi. It included Model Colony, Shah Faisal, Korangi and Landhi.
The advantages and disadvantages of making Keamari district
PPP has much to gain with this new district. It can appoint a bureaucracy of its own wish to run the administrative control of Keamari.
The district will have a deputy commissioner, additional deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners.
As per the population, the electoral seats in the local bodies elections will also be increased, which gets PPP a better position in the upcoming LB elections.
There will be a separate budget allocation for the new district and to facilitate the public on an administrative basis.
MQM-P and PTI are saying the PPP-led Sindh government made this decision without taking any stakeholders of Karachi into confidence.
Now that Keamari is a district, MQM-P will get a hold over District West. It will likely not get seats in Keamari district as the population is from a different ethnicity.
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar termed it a biased decision taken by the Sindh government, adding that the MQM leadership has decided to move the court against the formation of District Keamari.
Akhtar says the Sindh government has tried to sabotage the combined efforts being made for the betterment of Karachi.
“The PPP is against formation of new provinces on administrative basis, but divided Karachi on the same pattern—which is an unfair act,” he added.
PTI leader Haleem Adil Shaikh said PPP is getting political benefit.
“The PTI has rejected the Sindh cabinet decision over formation of seventh district in Karachi,” he said.
He said the Sindh government should take steps to transform Larkana, Sukkur and Hyderabad as a metropolitan city.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Hafiz Naeemur Rehman also condemned the decision.
He said new provinces should be made on administrative basis, not districts.
He called it political point scoring by PPP. Hafiz Naeem said Karachi should be run as a single unit through CDGK.
He said the decision is not in the favour of the people, but in the favour of PPP.
When asked why there was a need for this new district, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab told SAMAA Digital it was purely an administrative decision to facilitate people because the lesser the population of a district, the easier it is to address their problems.
He said MQM has always supported small units and now it has a problem with seven districts.
The government official believes MQM has an advantage because West district now has a majority of Urdu speaking population. In the past, MQM always struggled to get a seat in this district. “When Wasim Akhtar was part of the cabinet in 2005, they divided Hyderabad into four districts and Larkana and Dadu into two districts each,” he said.