KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly yesterday approved the Karachi Development Authority (Revival and Amending) Bill, 2016, reviving the Karachi Development Authority and giving it into the control of the provincial government from the Karachi Municipal Corporation.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement opposed the transfer of Karachi Development Authority to the provincial government and tabled an amendment in the bill for giving it under the control of the elected mayor of the city. The amendment from MQM Parliamentary Leader Syed Sardar Ahmed was, however, rejected by the assembly.

The new bill revived the position of the Karachi Development Authority to July 2002 while the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s control over the authority was shifted to the provincial government which would run the affairs through a governing body.

The local government, house and town planning minister would be the chairman of the governing body; other members would be two members of the provincial assembly, the local government secretary, the Karachi commissioner, KDA director general, member (technical), member (finance) and member (admin).

Speaking over his amendment for giving powers to the Karachi mayor, Syed Sardar Ahmed said that it is followed across the globe that the metropolis affairs are run by mayors, but in Sindh, previously, the mayor was deprived of the powers of running affairs of water board and building control authority and now the KDA was also taken from him.

Senior Minister for Education Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said the KDA was revived to encourage housing industry and provide low-cost housing schemes to the Karachiites.

MQM lawmaker Khalid Ahmed said the government did not bother to ask representatives elected from the city before doing any legislation for the city and had imposed its decision like a dictatorial regime.

The local government minister stated that before its amalgamation with KMC, the KDA completed 40 housing projects but after that it only got fame for china cutting, illegal appointments and massive land grabbing.

He said the government had made this amendment to once again give low-cost housing schemes to the city and provide better facilities to the residents.

The assembly also approved four more bills – Sindh Factories Bill, 2015, Sindh Terms of Employment (Standing Orders) Bill, 2015, Sindh Shops and Commercial Establishment Bill, 2015 and Sindh Service Tribunals (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Meanwhile, the MQM lawmakers staged a walkout from the assembly after Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza did not allow Khawaja Izharul Hassan to table an adjournment motion. Finance and Energy Minister Murad Ali Shah stopped another MQM lawmaker from presenting the adjournment motion in the absence of Opposition Leader Khawaja Izhar and said only the mover had the right to present it.

The deputy speaker also ruled the adjournment motion as non-maintainable, on which the MQM lawmakers first staged protest in front of the speaker’s dais and later staged a walkout over her behaviour.

The MQM lawmakers also staged a walkout from the assembly over the arrest of its deputy convener Shahid Pasha from Gulistan-e-Jauhar by Rangers. Speaking on a point of order, MQM MPA Khalid Ahmed said MQM had always supported law-enforcing authorities in their action against militants and criminals and they were the first to demand targeted operation in the city.

“Shahid Pasha is a senior MQM leader and if there are any allegations or confusions regarding his involvement in any activity, he should be called at the Rangers headquarters like other top political leaders,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Assembly secretary yesterday said he had not yet received any resignation from Dr Saghir Ahmed and Iftikhar Alam who had left MQM. He said as per rules the members have to be present at the time of submitting their resignations; then speaker gives his decision on their written resignations and conveys the decision to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Separately, PPP’s newly elected member from PS-76 Dadu also took oath of his office.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party lawmakers yesterday staged a sit-in at the entrance of the provincial assembly against the safe exit given by the federal government to former dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf.

Addressing the lawmakers, Nisar Khuhro said the federal government once again tore the constitution by giving a safe passage to a dictator. He said PML-N had played the role of a facilitator by giving safe exit to Musharraf who is facing high treason case. He said if Musharraf was not brought back, the entire country would echo with “Go Nawaz Go” slogans.

He said Nawaz Sharif was also given the same safe passage in disguise of his illness in 1999 by Musharraf and now he had paid that debt off, allowing the former general to leave the country on medical reasons.

Neither the federal prosecutor opposed Musharraf’s exit from the country nor did the court take any responsibility, passing the buck to each other to give him a safe passage, the senior Sindh minister said.

Adviser to CM on Information Maula Bux Chandio said a third NRO was done by allowing Musharraf to leave the country and now they are misguiding the nation through their statements.

He questioned whether Atiqa Odho and Ayyan Ali had done a bigger crime than Musharraf as they were kept in prison and had to face courts for a longer period of time.