Planning Minister Asad Umar has opposed the Sindh government’s proposal to collect taxes on behalf of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) through electricity bills, saying the federal government would not allow it. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan has also rejected the Sindh government’s new plan.
Recently, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah unveiled the provincial government’s plan to collect two taxes on behalf of the KMC from the citizens of Karachi through the monthly K-Electric bill. He said Rs100 and Rs200 would be charged respectively from two categories of consumers in the KE bill. According to the chief minister, he was working to strengthen Karachi’s local bodies financially so that they could serve citizens from their own resources.
The move drew sharp criticism from opposition parties in Sindh as they not only rejected the collection of any such tax by KE, but also questioned the performance of the Pakistan People’s Party-led provincial government that has been ruling the province for the past 13 years.
Meanwhile, Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab requested the federal government not to create “hurdles” in the affairs of KMC. This mutual acrimony has once again vitiated the atmosphere between the federal and Sindh governments. But the civic infrastructure in the biggest city of the country has been left to crumble and things are getting worse.
It is obvious there is no love lost between the two parties. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been a vocal critic of former president Asif Ali Zardari as well as Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, while the PPP leadership has been raking the PTI over the coals ever since it formed the government in 2018.
The political rivalry therefore runs deep and the last few years have done nothing to dilute it. The two parties cooperated briefly while constituting the Karachi development package but this process also fell victim to mutual distrust and blame. This state of affairs has now reached a point where the citizens have to suffer.
There is a dire need to lower the political temperature by engaging with each other more positively. The people of Sindh are mainly affected by these inadvisable quarrels that consume a lot of energy and time of ministers and officials who should be devoting more of their time to serving the people rather than indulging in unwanted dispute.