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Power consolidation in Karachi

A new power tussle is on the cards in Sindh as the local government completes its tenure on August 29. Political parties have already started consolidating power while the main battle remains in Karachi.

In a sudden move, the Sindh government has decided to divide districts on an administrative basis, starting with carving out Kemari district from the District West. Further districts are on the anvil as the chief minister sought recommendations to bifurcate those with large areas or population.

There was an immediate reaction from the MQM-P which opposed the move. The party brought in Mayor Waseem Akhtar whose tenure was filled with complaints of lack of authority and control. As the party’s control weakened in the city, there are chances that the next mayor could be from the PTI.

The MQM-P is seeking wrestle back control and make a comeback in the election while the PPP claims that the next mayor will belong to their party. The PTI which had been in its own tussle with the Sindh government is expected to show its political muscle and get control of the city.

The Sindh government has claimed that it gave all rights to the mayor but the city still faces a myriad of problems. No of the three main parties in Sindh have been willing to take responsibility. The MQM-P has termed the bifurcation of Karachi as ‘ethnic division’ saying the PPP has already divided Sindh.  The party seems to revive its long-held goal for a separate province despite the repercussions.

Another controversial decision made by the Sindh government is to appoint administrators as the local government bodies complete its tenure. These will be appointed by the LG Minister Nasir Shah in local councils and could be from the bureaucracy as well as form civil society.

There is no expected date when the election will be held due to the ongoing pandemic but it is likely to continue for several months and until then the Sindh government will have complete control over all districts across the province.

The MQM-P wants an empowered local bodies system with far-reaching powers to the mayor, while the PTI wants to devolve it to grassroots levels. It is welcoming that the local government completed it tenure in Sindh. As all parties seek to consolidate power, we can expect political fireworks in the months to come.

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