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Mustafa Kamal made Project Director Garbage by Wasim Akhtar

27 August, 2019

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The ongoing war of words between Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Mustafa Kamal took an intriguing turn on Monday when the city custodian “designated” the latter as “Project Director Garbage on voluntary basis” to clean the city.

“I, being Mayor of Karachi, hereby designate Syed Mustafa Kamal as Project Director Garbage on [a] voluntary basis with immediate effect until further order,” said an order issued by the mayor.

The order, which was issued in the afternoon apparently in response to the PSP chief’s presser in the morning, said the decision was taken “in the light of the statement made and reported in electronic and print media that Syed Mustafa Kamal has shown his willingness to clean the city of Karachi within 90 days”.

Mr Akhtar said whatever the machinery and equipment the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation had and its staff of municipal services would be at the disposal of Mr Kamal. “Now he has to prove himself equal to the job,” he added.

Later in the evening, Mr Kamal announced that he had accepted the mayor’s offer and said he would work round the clock and report to the mayor even after midnight since “he is my boss now”.

However, in the same breath, the PSP chief said by issuing this order the mayor, who belonged to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), had conceded his failure and the MQM should ask him to resign as there was no justification left for him to continue in office.

The former Karachi nazim said he would be responsible for municipal services of the 130 union committees and four district municipal corporations being controlled by the MQM-P.

He had earlier in the day expressed concern over the state of cleanliness in the city, claiming that he could clean Karachi within three months with the available municipal resources and funds.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Kamal explained that he would work on a voluntary basis and would not take any federal help or “donations” to make Karachi clean.

For this purpose, he gave a three-phase proposal, including abolition of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, devolving its resources to elected representatives at the union committee level and construction of at least five garbage transfer stations.

He said those responsible for the city’s cleanliness were minting money as billions of rupees were being spent on lifting of garbage, fuel cost and salaries without getting any result.

Claiming that Karachi needs an honest leadership, the PSP chief called upon the MQM-P leadership, including its convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, to hold its “corrupt” elected representatives accountable and remove them from their offices. He also reiterated his demand that the name of Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar be put on the Exit Control List.

His presser prompted the mayor to react and designate him as “project director garbage”.

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