Karachi's Administrator, Barrister Murtaza Wahab
Karachi's Administrator, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, speaks at the press conference at Frere Hall. Image Credit: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation

Karachi: The leadership of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has not accepted the resignation of Karachi’s Administrator, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, while directing him to continue discharging his responsibilities to manage the civic affairs of the provincial capital.

On Monday, Wahab submitted his resignation to Sindh Chief Minister after the Sindh High Court ordered the government to halt his plan to collect the controversial municipal tax from the residents of the city via monthly electricity bills.

Wahab tendered his resignation with the twice-delayed local government elections in Karachi due to be held on October 23. The elected members of the City Council in the next stage will elect the new mayor of Karachi for replacing the Administrator appointed by the Sindh government.

Speaking at a press conference on the lawn of historical Karachi’s Frere Hall, Wahab told media persons that he had personally decided to resign as after the latest decision of his party’s leadership he would continue to serve the city.

He once again defended his proposal to collect the municipal tax via electricity bills while saying that the proposed revenue collection system would increase the earnings of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) manifold while enabling it to spend the same on the development of the city’s infrastructure in a transparent and effective manner.

He informed the journalists that during the tenure of previous Karachi’s Mayor, Wasim Akhtar, merely Rs one billion could be collected under the head of municipal tax in four years.

He said the proposed new system would enable the KMC to increase its annual collection of municipal tax to over Rs three billion.

Barrister Wahab informed the journalists that before the court’s ruling, around 600,000 consumers of Karachi’s power utility deposited Rs 50 million as municipal tax in just 10 days.

He mentioned that the same electricity bills were being used by the government for the recovery of the television license fee from the consumers.

He said the municipal tax would empower the KMC to effectively play its due role in improving the city’s civic infrastructure.