Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bye Bye Mustafa Kamal?

The Sindh Government finally passed the Local Government Amendment Bill 2010 yesterday. The writing on the wall for the CDGK was written even since Mush was ousted and the provincial politicians regained their authority. There has been a fair amount of politically motivated violence in Karachi and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that a major factor was the power struggle between the PPP and MQM - political parties in Karachi have a unique way of negotiating. Even so, the fact that bill was passed in relative peace is a triumph and bodes well for the people of this city, at least in the short term.

It also means that the CDGK as we know it will cease to be. The next local government will certainly not have as much authority as Mustafa Kamal's, or even Naimatullah Khan's regime. Karachi's been lucky to have two mayors in the erstwhile powerful role who in their own ways had Karachi's interests at heart. And again, who knows perhaps the new system will prove to be better and provide more adequate checks and balance.

There's little I can add to what's already been written about the successes of the CDGK, and Mustafa Kamal in particular but I have linked to our previous posts on him at the bottom.

So what's next for MK? I don't see him continuing as the Mayor, the good times are over and he should want to leave on a high. Considering all that he's done for the MQM's image, the party would certainly want him to continue and he could be offered a slot as an MNA, a ministry may even be mentioned. But MK is no Farooq Sattar, also a former Mayor, and I don't see him getting his hands dirty in national politics. And unlike most Pakistani politicians, MK has a great cache of international goodwill which I think he'll use and head to a nice little shindig abroad.

By the way my dark horse candidate for the next mayor is Faisal Sabzwari, a young MQM politician in the MK mould who is currently serving as the Provincial Minister for Youth Affairs.

I leave you with a video of Mk which I came across on Cafe Pyala, its an odd choice I admit but I think it perfectly encapsulates the man. XYZ at Cafe Pyala had this to say about the video:

"Whatever the truth of what exactly happened and why after the blast at the Karachi Ashura procession, you are unlikely to see a more honest reaction of frustration from a politician on the media... Watch the clip till the end!"

Seriously, please do watch the clip till the end.

(Links to previous posts: Ahsan chose him as the best Pakistani politician of the decade, he also posted on MK being nominated as the Second Best Mayor in the World - which was not really the case but was still picked up by other outlets; I was impressed by him initiating students to the inner workings of the CDGK, I also wanted him to take over DHA; Ahsan also had a chance to meet with Mustafa Kamal in Chicago and posted about his meetings with the head of the Sadistic Goremint here and here.)


Rabia said...

great post, AKS. I hope you keep posting about Karachi politics. It'll be interesting to read the full text of the new sindh local government ordinance.

btw it's somewhat ironic that just a few weeks after the ulloo ke patthay video, Anees Qaimkhani of MQM issued a statement from 90 blaming PPP politicians for the Ashura blasts. I guess MQM is not above JI tactics either.

Ahsan said...

I don't like Qaim Ali Shah's face.

Tazeen said...


Qaim Ali Shah is only good for one thing; keeping Kala Kola hair dye in business. Even I don't have hair that dark and I am almost 50 years younger than he is.

MK will be missed.

AKS said...

Thanks Rabia,

I remember seeing the press conference at 9 0 which came right after the MQM clash with Zulfiqar Mirza at the Sindh Assembly where Mirza pointedly told the assembly that he would ulta tangao all 'rogue politicians.' Waisay Rabia for someone who wants to reclaim the PPP and take it back to its roots, thugs like Rahman Malik, Zulfiqar Mirza and Agha Siraj Durrani must really get to you - I know they get to me, and I too want to see a stronger PPP. Also, reclaiming the PPP isn't going to be easy with the sons of messers Mirza, Gabol, etc. biding their time free-wheeling in their massive SUVs, guards and unlicensed guns by their side.

Oh and yeah the MQM isn't above JI tactics, though that's probably praise for the MQM, means their learning to be better politicians. I mean seriously, instead of going on a bloody rampage two days after Qaimkhani statement they had managed to reconcile with the PPP and were back in the assembly.

Umair Javed said...

I havent managed to go through the text of the amended LG act for Sindh but i hope it at least retains and enhances some amount of fiscal capacity (and not just administrative authority) at the level of the district. One of the prime reasons why the local governments failed in Punjab was because administrative devolution was not backed up by enhancing the fiscal capacity of the elected councils.

Decentralization in Pakistan has been used by central governments to induct new patrons into the system as a way of countering established provincial figures. The MQM was lucky because it was popular both at the local level and settled alongside Musharraf at the center. Party based elections at the local level would at the bare minimum force non-populist parties like the Muslim League to develop local politicians, and you dont have to a genius to figure out why they're pissing their pants over this issue in Punjab. They're used to dealing with bureaucrats and i think the PPP is being quite clever in ensuring that local bodies stay intact and somehow get incorporated into the constitution as well because if anything, it will expose the Muslim League's weakness at the local level.

I think the best possible case for Karachi would be to allow for some amount of seat sharing with the PPP so that the day-to-day affairs of running Karachi arent damaged by useless politicking. But the best part about being from Lahore is that we have our very own Nazim Shahbaz Sharif...who micro-manages everything in the city (some could call it a serious case of neurosis)....

F-Machine said...

Hope this is viewable directly.. Another MK video for your viewing pleasure