Political bickering ruins city of lights: How Karachi can be run prudently ponders Supreme Court

KARACHI: Worried over future of Karachi amid financial bankruptcy of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), a bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah on Friday asked the Sindh government to consider providing adequate grant to cash strapped body.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Karachi Electric (KE) against KMC seeking payment of electricity dues. People of the city are suffering due to political bickering, observed the bench adding that all functions of the KMC have been taken away by the provincial government. We would be forced to examined that what functions have been taken away and under what law, the bench said.

Karachi is the revenue engine of the country, what proposal you have brought , the bench inquired from Advocate General (AG) Sindh, Salman Tailbuddin.

AG Sindh said that KMC and other corporation are facing funds shortage as main source of revenue i.e advertisement has been closed after a judgment by the apex court. The other issues include ghost employees, AG Sindh said adding that remedial measures are to be taken if condition worsens. The problems are solved once they aggravate, he said. KDA is getting 40 per cent from our share and KMC gets only 60 per cent creating a monthly deficit of rupees 70 million. Doctors are on strike, medicines are not available in KMC hospitals, we have to look after street lights, islands, parks, municipal services but our grant is being reduced on different pretexts.

The bench inquired  from Finance Secretary Sindh about a way out. Citing figures, he said provincial government is also cash strapped as federal government is not releasing due share.  He opposed a proposal of advancing a loan to the KMC to pay KE bill and said thousand other MC’s UC’s will also be demanding the similar facility as it would become a precedent.

Don’t compare Karachi with other parts, it is unique and different, the bench said asking the chief law officer and finance manager of the province to find a way out. The bench at one stage also asked the city mayor to file a statement supported by copies of notifications snatching away powers and others from KMC.

Mr AG , take this seriously, come up with a practicable solution solving the issue of payment, the bench said.

The city cannot be run like this with dozens of agencies encroaching upon each others domain, said Mayor Waseem. The bench later with consensus of KMC, Sindh government and KE adjourned the proceedings asking the stake holders to resolve the issue of electricity dues as well as empowering the KMC making it economically stable and independent.[the_ad id=”31605″]

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