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Karachi mayor election delay sows discontent

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Karachi mayor election delay sows discontent

The local government elections in Karachi recently concluded, with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) emerging as the winner with 93 seats, followed by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) with 86 seats and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) coming in third with 40 seats. However, neither party has the majority required for the city s mayoral slot. As a result, the PPP and JI have to form an alliance with each other or the JI has to shake hand with the PTI in order to appoint a mayor of choice. 

Despite this, an amendment to the Sindh Local Government Act of 2013 now requires only a simple majority to table a no-confidence motion, making it so that the elected mayor would not have any job security. Controversies marked the local body polls as in every other election, however, the results have left the political parties in Karachi with a challenge in terms of forming a stable government with a clear majority.

The elections for the mayorship of the country’s biggest city and economic hub faced long delay as the political uncertainty grew with each passing day. 

The delay of the Karachi mayor election has caused frustration among citizens, political parties and candidates as they had been preparing for the election for months. Additionally, the delay has raised concerns about the transparency and fairness of the electoral process as some parties have accused the ECP of bias and manipulation. It is also having an impact on the city s governance. This has resulted in a vacuum of leadership, which has hindered the city s capacity to address important issues such as infrastructure development, transportation, and public services.

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The local government elections in Karachi were held on Jan 15 – two and a half years after the local government in Karachi was abolished on Aug 30, 2020. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) grabbed 91 seats out of 229, while Jamaat-e-Islami won 85 seats, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) could bag 42 seats. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) won 7, 2 and one seat respectively.

The commission compiled the results of the chairmen and vice chairmen elections in 229 union councils (UCs), while the results of six UCs have been withheld. Hearing on six seats will be heard by the ECP and elections could not be held on 11 seats due to the death of candidates.

Following the LG elections, the PPP and JI have been reaching out to political parties to get their own mayor but the process faces delay after the ECP said that Karachi would have to wait for its election of mayor until the elections in all 246 union councils (UCs) are held. The electoral watchdog said elections in 11 out of 246 UCs were still remaining and the election of the mayor could be possible only after the elections were held in all the constituencies.

Sindh Election Commissioner Ejaz Anwar Chauhan has already said the process could take two to three months to complete.

Mayor’s responsibilities

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To run Pakistan s largest city, the mayor has only the function of road construction and maintenance, managing big hospitals and Karachi Medical & Dental College, Karachi Zoo, Safari Park, City Aquarium, Sports Complex, Art Gallery, Museum, Metropolitan Library, Fire Fighting, Civil Defense, Traffic Engineering, removal of encroachments and few other affairs.

According to a review report, the powers of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) seem limited in comparison to its status as the largest local government body in Sindh. The report states that some key functions of local government such as health, education, environment, overall development, and security are not under the jurisdiction of the KMC. 

Additionally, other functions that are included in its domain such as control of stray animals, brick kilns and cattle colonies are considered trivial and more appropriate for union committees (UCs). Furthermore, the six district municipal corporations (DMCs) were made independent with little connection to the KMC. Additionally, the DMCs and UCs controlled by the PPP communicate directly with the provincial government for funds and direction, bypassing the KMC.

The delay of the Karachi mayor election has caused significant disruption and uncertainty in the city, and has raised important questions about the effectiveness and integrity of the electoral process in Pakistan. It is important that the ECP, political parties and candidates work together to ensure that the election is conducted in a fair and transparent manner, and that the city of Karachi is able to move forward with effective governance and leadership.

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NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

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NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as per the latest projections from the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and multiple weather models, in its advisory has highlighted a series of moderate to intense weather systems to cause rainfall and thunderstorms in the country from April 17th to 29th.

“These weather patterns are anticipated to bring heavy rain, thunderstorms, and hailstorms, posing significant risks to various parts across the country,” said the NDMA news release issued on Wednesday.

The forecast indicated that a weather system would enter Pakistan on April 17th, initiating a period of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms lasting until April 22nd.

“The system will influence Balochistan from April 17th to April 19th, followed by impacts on Punjab and Sindh from April 18th to April 19th. Upper Punjab will experience the effects from April 18th to April 21st, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) will be affected from April 17th to 22nd April,” the advisory said.

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Following this, a weaker weather system was expected to enter Pakistan on April 23rd, bringing low rainfall and thunderstorms to certain parts of the country until April 24th.

While Balochistan and upper Punjab would experience slight impacts from April 23rd to April 24th, KP, GB, and AJK would also be affected.

However, Sindh was not expected to be impacted during this period.

Subsequently, a strong weather system is forecasted to enter Pakistan on April 25th, bringing heavy rain, thunderstorms, and hailstorms with occasional gaps until April 29th. This system will affect Balochistan from April 25th to April 29th, with intermittent gaps. Sindh will experience impacts on April 25th, 26th, and 28th, while South Punjab will be affected from April 27th to April 28th. Upper Punjab will face the brunt from April 26th to April 29th, while KP will experience effects from 25th to 29th April, potentially impacting GB and AJK from April 25th to April 29th.

The expected rainfall may trigger flash floods in local nullahs of vulnerable areas, including Khuzdar, Ziarat, Zhob, Sherani, Muslim Bagh, Quetta, Pishin, Kech, Panjgur, Gwadar, and Turbat. Flooding may also occur in low-lying areas during the forecast period, particularly in southern western Balochistan.

In the light of these projections, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issue dinstructions for Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs), District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs), and other relevant line departments to remain vigilant and prepared to respond to any emergent situations. It is imperative for departments to ensure the pre-placement of machinery and the availability of relevant staff in vulnerable areas.

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Local departments are urged to sensitize residents living along riverbanks and associated nullahs about the expected increase in water flows, and to facilitate timely evacuation of at-risk populations from low-lying and flood-prone areas as per evacuation plans. Additionally, citizens are advised to take extreme precautionary measures, such as staying away from electric poles and weak infrastructure, and refraining from driving or walking in waterways.

Farmers, cattle owners, tourists and travelers are also advised to remain cautious during this period, checking weather and road conditions before traveling, and taking necessary steps to protect crops, livestock, and personal safety.
For further updates and information, citizens are encouraged to stay tuned to local weather forecasts and advisories.

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President summons NA session on April 19

President summons NA session on April 19

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President summons NA session on April 19

President Asif Ali Zardari has summoned the session of the National Assembly on Friday, April 19, 2024 at 10:30 am.

The president summoned the session of National Assembly in exercise of the powers conferred by article 54(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

In previous session, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari, took oath as a member of the National Assembly.

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to Aseefa.

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During the session, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari provided headphones to Aseefa Bhutto Zardari to reduce the noise disturbances as PTI MNAs raised slogans calling for the release of the PTI founder.

Following Aseefa Zardari’s swearing-in, PPP members also chanted slogans in support of the Bhutto family like ‘jiye Bhutto’.  

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President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

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President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called for further enhancing bilateral cooperation with Turkiye in the areas of trade, economy, education and culture.

The president, talking to Ambassador of Turkiye in Pakistan Dr Mehmet Pacaci, who called on him, said that Turkish companies should benefit from the investment-friendly policies of the country and invest through the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

Welcoming the ambassador, the president said that the people of Pakistan and Turkiye had historic and long-standing ties, adding that the two nations had always supported and stood by each other in difficult times.

President Zardari stated that Pakistan could benefit from the Turkish development experience, especially in the area of infrastructure development.

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In order to promote regional connectivity, he suggested undertaking a joint feasibility study to establish a railway connection between the two brotherly countries. The president also underlined the need for increasing educational and cultural exchanges to further promote people-to-people contacts. He said that Pakistan looked forward to welcoming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the 7th High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council session in Pakistan.

President Zardari also expressed his gratitude for President Erdoğan’s congratulatory messages on his election as President of Pakistan as well as at the beginning of Holy Ramazan. He also conveyed his warm greetings and sentiments for the future success of the Turkish president. 

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