Wednesday Aug 21 2019

No respite for Karachi as Waseem Akhtar, Mustafa Kamal engage in war of words


KARACHI: As Karachi reels from the aftermath of the disastrous monsoon spell, the sprawling metropolis of nearly 20 million has once again been held hostage to blame games as politicians engage in a war of words.

Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, speaking to the media earlier at the launch of a clean-up campaign in Malir Town’s Saudabad area, held Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah responsible for the city’s plight as he held the charge of the chairman of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) as well as Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB).

“The water accumulated in the streets is not rainwater but overflowing sewage, and the problem can be solved only when the KWSB and the SSWMB mend their ways,” Akhtar said, claiming that the “SSWMB spent Rs24 billion on cleaning Karachi but could not get rid of tonnes of garbage present on the streets.”

The mayor further asked the people of Karachi to stop paying their taxes to the Sindh government.

Reacting to Akhtar’s comments, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Saeed Ghani declared the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan as the “B team” of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

“It seems the Karachi mayor is on PTI’s agenda,” Ghani remarked, adding that the Clean Karachi campaign was “merely continuing on Twitter.”

“PPP cannot ignore Karachi,” he said, and claimed that PTI minister Ali Haider Zaidi’s initiative to clean the city was “only making it dirtier.”

Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leader Mustafa Kamal demanded that Akhtar’s name be placed on the Exit Control List.

“Waseem Akhtar is responsible for Karachi’s plight. He doesn’t [do anything] despite having resources and power. Who should we ask to clean Karachi? The United Nations?,” Kamal said.

The former mayor lamented that the city was in shambles but the centre and the provincial and local governments were busy locking horns with each other, rather than trying to fix the issues.

Responding to his remarks, Akhtar said Karachi had rejected Mustafa Kamal. “What else has he done apart from china cutting?” the mayor asked. 

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, who launched the 'Clean Karachi' campaign earlier this month, mocked the SSWMB for its failure to resolve the city's solid waste woes.