Karachi at night, Shutterstock
Karachi at night. Speaking at a press conference, Sindh Information and Labour Minister, Saeed Ghani, said the provincial government was always ready to hold negotiations with opposition parties in the province to incorporate changes in the local government system as per their demands. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Karachi: The Sindh government has shown a willingness to switch back to the system of open ballot for electing the next mayor of Karachi, following protests by the opposition parties in the province.

The newly-passed Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2021, had envisaged the system of secret ballot for electing Karachi’s mayor as against the method of show of hands in the previous municipal system for the mayoral election.

The opposition parties in the province, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muttahida Quami Movement, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Pak Sarzameen Party, have been agitating against the amendment law while stating it would further weaken and deteriorate the system of municipal governance in Karachi.

Speaking at a press conference, Sindh Information and Labour Minister, Saeed Ghani, said the provincial government was always ready to hold negotiations with opposition parties in the province to incorporate changes in the local government system as per their demands.

He said it was no big deal for the Sindh government to revert to the system of open ballot for electing Karachi’s mayor on the demand of the opposition parties.

The Information Minister said the Sindh government was willing to give back the control of the local educational and health institutions to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation if the opposition wanted that the next city’s mayor continue to manage them.

He said the Sindh government had assumed control of these health and educational facilities for the sole purpose of improving their affairs as in the past the hospitals run by Karachi’s municipality had been in bad shape and had faced serious financial problems.

Ghani claimed the new local government amendment law hadn’t taken back any power of the municipal agencies of Karachi as they had the same authority as had been in the previous system.

He said the Sindh government in the newly passed law had also agreed to the demand of the opposition to constitute several towns in Karachi instead of districts for municipal governance in the city.