Will special assistant on CDA salvage embattled, inefficient civic agency?


-Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz says that Capital has little to gain from intra-organisational strife

ISLAMABAD: With the recently elected Member National Assembly (MNA) Ali Nawaz Awan’s notification of Special Assistant to Prime Minister (PM) on Capital Development Authority (CDA), the civic agency’s Intra-organisational rift with Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) seems to have widened.

The development has come weeks after placing the civic agency under Ministry of Interior that is presently retained by the premier and State Minister Shehryar Khan Afridi.

It is pertinent to mention here that the MCI comprises of elected local representatives and is headed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) loyalist, Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz.

“We have a stated position on this so-called rift between MCI and CDA. CDA should hand over all the concerned directorates along with machinery and personnel to MCI at once and limit its role with land and estate,’ said Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz while talking to Pakistan Today.

He said that the only way ahead is for the local representatives to have supremacy and an ultimate say in the matters of governance. “We hope that Ali Nawaz Awan who was the leader of MCI’s opposition has ample exposure to issues that plague the capital. Now that he has been made the Special Assistant to PM on CDA, I hope that he will fulfil the promises he so dearly cherished while being a member of MCI,’ he added.

Days after assuming power, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government had decided to introduce substantial changes in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Local Government Act of 2015 and bring the MCI out of its slumber.

However, it is unclear whether the PTI government will go for an all-out overhauling of local government or change the election of mayors and deputy mayors from an indirect election by chairmen to a direct election by registered voters despite the passage of several months.

Since the MCI’s inception around two and a half years ago, the civic agency has had little and short-lived successes in contrast to the never-ending list of failures including the failure to resolve the perennial issues of citizens like water woes, public transport, sanitation and sewerage disposal, environment protection, and the maintenance and provision of amenities in old and new sectors.

The intensity of MCI dilemmas can be learned from the single fact that the civic agency got funds for the first time mere weeks before the end of the terms of assemblies. A total of Rs10 billion were issued for the civic agency’s stalled development projects related to water supply, sanitation and the capital’s beautification.

It is pertinent to mention that the ultimate price for the tug-of-war between bureaucratic high-ups and elected members was paid by none other than Islamabad’s denizens in the shape of infrastructure deterioration, poor service provision, and delays in the completion of ongoing infrastructure projects during the last two years.

‘The local bodies system is rotten to the core. It has structural flaws that hinder it from delivering good governance and service provisions,” said Ali Nawaz Awan while talking to Pakistan Today, adding that his party is in the process to bringing revolutionary changes in the laws of local bodies in order to empower the representatives of the people at ground level.