Karachi, Hyderabad funds set to be ‘unfrozen’

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The Sindh government has decided to unfreeze all the funds of the recently restored City District Government Karachi (CDGK) and Hyderabad district government under the agreement reached between the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and its estranged former ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Today has learnt. The provincial government would release Rs 20 billion to the recently restored district governments of Karachi and Hyderabad shortly.
Sources said that the earmarked funds were frozen after the revival of the commissionerate system in the province.
They said that these funds remained unused as the provincial authorities could not make any decision regarding their utilisation.
However, it has now been decided that Rs 10 billion each would be released for Karachi and Hyderabad districts, they added.
Sources said that after revival of the Commissionerate System 1979, the provincial government had frozen the funds, hoping that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement would rejoin the government as its coalition partner.
They said that the funds were meant for development of all the districts throughout the province; however, it would be sheer injustice with the people of other districts besides Karachi and Hyderabad.
Though the people of these two districts would be benefited; however, the people of the remaining districts, where the commissionerate system is still active, would be deprived of development by the government, they added.
It is pertinent to mention here that after abolishment of the Sindh Local Government Ordinance (SLGO) 2001 and revival of the Commissionerate System 1979, the provincial government had frozen the funds of all the Town Municipal Administrations (TMAs), including the district governments of Karachi and Hyderabad.
However, the salaries of the employees of the district governments were being released according to the old formula.
Sources said that since the Sindh government has now restored former president Pervez Musharraf’s district government system in Karachi and Hyderabad, the provincial government would unfreeze their funds shortly.
They said that the Sindh Finance Department had earlier forwarded a letter to the officials of the National Bank of Pakistan to seize all funds of the district governments and TMAs, including the CDGK.
The letter also said that the funds allocated for salaries of the employees of the said institutions would not be seized and be issued according to routine, they added.
Sources said that in the budget for 2011-12, the provincial government had increased Rs 2.964 billion for the 18 towns of Karachi and 101 TMAs of the province.
They said that the provincial government had earmarked Rs 26.321 billion for the fiscal year 2011-12, whereas the previous fiscal year’s revised budget for the towns of Karachi and TMAs was Rs 23.357 billion.
Rs 20 billion had also been allocated in the Annual Development Programme 2011-12 for all the districts under the District Development Programme, they added.
It is relevant to mention here that the 18 towns of Karachi comprise Baldia Town, Bin Qasim Town, Gadap Town, Gulberg Town, Gulshan Town, Jamshed Town, Keamari Town, Korangi Town, Landhi Town, Liaquatabad Town, Lyari Town, Malir Town, New Karachi Town, North Nazimabad Town, Orangi Town, Saddar Town, Shah Faisal Town and SITE Town, whereas there are 101 talukas in 23 other districts. Sources said that before the promulgation of the SLGO 2011, the budgets of the district councils and town committees were limited and financial crises in these institutions was a regular issue.
However, they said, after revival of the SLGO 2011, funds have been allocated to all the district governments and TMAs with a record increase.
It has been decided to release the funds, particularly to Karachi and Hyderabad, so that the estranged MQM leadership could be persuaded to rejoin the government, they added.