The 'Save Karachi' march attracted thousands of protesters.

Karachi: A huge “Save Karachi” march was held on one of the main thoroughfares of the city to demand more powers for municipalities of the provincial capital so that the next elected Mayor has authority to resolve civic problems of Karachiites.

“Karachi is not going to get any benefit if its next Mayor merely gets power from the Sindh government to act as a refuse collector, as problems of the city would remain unresolved if all the authority remained vested in the (provincial) Chief Minister,” said Sirajul Haq, central leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) that organised the “Save Karachi” march.

The JI leader was referring to the recent amendment bills passed by the Sindh Assembly, which enable the next Mayor of Karachi to become the chairman of the new city waste collection agency being established by the provincial government. Opposition political parties believe recent amendments to the Sindh Local Government Act-2013 are meant to further weaken the authority of the elected municipal representatives in the province.

“The Sindh government should better see what powers are available to the mayors of London, Istanbul, and Cairo, and see the situation of these cities,” said the JI leader.

Basic necessities of life

He said his political party was fully backing the just, legal, and constitutional struggle of the people of Karachi so that they get basic necessities of life, including decent public health facilities, public transport, potable water, electricity, and natural gas. “This injustice should come to an end as strengthening of Karachi means that entire Pakistan will be strengthened,” said Haq.

He praised the past mayors of Karachi, Naimatullah Khan and Abdul Sattar Afghani, who belonged to JI, who he said had tremendously served the city.

The JI also announced a protest sit-in outside the building of Sindh Assembly on December 31, 2021 to demand more powers for the local government of Karachi.

Addressing a similar protest rally in Karachi, former Karachi mayor, Syed Mustafa Kamal, who is also head of Pak Sarzameen Party, demanded the Constitution of Pakistan should explain the powers of the city’s mayor as like the same document had provisions for the authorities of President, Prime Minister, and Chief Ministers in the country.