The Sindh cabinet on Monday approved the formation of the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) — which it had agreed to do in separate deals with the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) earlier this year — announcing that the mayor, as well as representatives from townships and union councils, would be a part of the PFC.
The decision was made during a meeting of the cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, according to a statement issued by the Chief Minister House.
Following the approval of the controversial Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2021 by the provincial assembly in November last year, the Jamaat-i-Islami had held a month-long sit-in in Karachi in January that ended only after the Sindh government agreed to further amend the law.
Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, while announcing the agreement, had said at the time, “Karachi mayor would be chairman of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board. The Provincial Finance Commission would be set up within a month of the local government elections. Similarly, the city administration would have its due share in motor vehicle tax.”
“Those health and education sectors which were withdrawn from the control of local government are returned back,” he had said.
The PSP had held a separate week-long protest earlier this month that ended with the Sindh government and the party signing a 10-point accord.
The PSP chief had called the deal a major success, but warned that he was calling off the sit-in only till Feb 18 to see the implementation of the agreement practically through due amendments and required legislation.
The agreement had said the Sindh government agreed to activate the Provincial Finance Commission in its true letter and spirit with composition of its members and further to create (Divisible Pool) for the smooth running of the affairs of Local Government.
During its meeting today, the cabinet decided that the mayor would be a member of the governing bodies of Karachi Development Authority (KDA), Malir Development Authority (MDA) and Lyari Development Authority (LDA).
“In this way, the relevant mayors will become members of Sehwan Development Authority and Larkana Development Authority,” the statement said.
It also allowed the Karachi mayor to become the chairman of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, according to the deal with JI.
The cabinet instructed all district headquarters and taluka headquarters to form town committees.
The Sindh cabinet decided to establish a university or a university sub-campus in every district of the province.
It also approved the setting up of the Karachi Metropolitan University (KMU). The provincial government had decided to establish the varsity with Karachi Medical & Dental College as its affiliated college and the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital as a teaching hospital last month.
Talking about the KMU after the meeting, Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab said that by approving the KMU bill, the provincial government was giving the Karachi Medical & Dental College the status of a university, which he said, was “one major demand of KMDC students which was not delivered by MQM all throughout their years in power”.