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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) appro-ached the apex court praying to direct the Sindh government to provide funds to the local bodies of Karachi in order to effectively carry out its local body obligations for local governance and make the cities of Sindh, including Karachi, a better and more livable place.

The PTI and Asad Umar, Minister for Planning and Development, on Tuesday filed a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, and cited the Federation through secretary Cabinet, secretary Ministry of Finance, chief secretary Sindh, secretary Local Government, Sindh, secretary Sindh Assembly, secretary Finance Sindh, and Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians as respondents.

They prayed before the Supreme Court to declare sections 74 and 75 of the Act of 2013 as well as Section 18 of the Sindh Buildings Control Ordinance, 1979 ultra vires the Constitution, void ab initio and of no legal effect.

The petitioner said that the purposes of devolution of powers to the local government institutions was to fulfill the requirements of Article 140-A as well as Articles 3, 4, 9, 14, 16, 17,19, 19A and 25 of the Constitution.

They further prayed to the apex court to pass directions to the respondents to release all the funds due and payable to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation including the release of its share of Octroi Zila Tax (OZT) along with markup and additional markup.

The Supreme Court also declare that the provision of water and sewerage being basic municipal functions be devolved to the local government.

They requested the apex court to pass such interim orders for the purposes of devolution of powers to the local government institutions for the compliance of Article 140-A of the Constitution in letter and spirit.

The petitioners said that the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 and certain allied laws had been passed, which were in utter violation of Articles 140-A and 32 of the Constitution, and directly infringed upon and violated the fundamental rights of the people of Sindh enshrined therein to have a true representative local government fully equipped with the necessary political, administrative and financial powers to carry on the works and functions of local government.

The certain provisions of the Act of 2013 are ultra vires the Constitution.

The Act of 2013, particularly sections 74 and 75, thereof, are in total violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution and the various judgments of this Court in as much as the total administrative and financial control of local government has been kept by the province, whereas, the local authorities have only been created as a sham without any real functions or financial power.

The main reason for Karachi’s problems is that the local body institutions have not been allowed to be established and the principle of Article 140-A of the Constitution, in which political, administrative and financial powers are to be devolved upon local bodies, is not being implemented.

As a result, the lives of millions of people of Karachi and other areas of Sindh are being threatened.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020