The MQM-Pakistan on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to issue directives to the concerned authorities for releasing Rs 29.36 billion to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation from its share of Octroi Zila Tax (OZT) along with mark-up and empowering the incumbent Mayor Waseem Akhtar to exercise his authority to serve the Karachiites.
Barrister Faroogh Nasim filed the petition on behalf of MQM-P’s convener Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar and other party leaders making secretary of the Cabinet Division, secretary finance, chief secretary Sindh, secretary local government Sindh, secretary Sindh Assembly, secretary provincial law department and Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian as respondents.
The apex court has been requested to ask the authorities concerned to declare that the mayor Karachi is empowered to exercise the authority under Section 4 of the Sindh Buildings Control Ordinance 1979 under the local government institutions. Barrister Nasim submitted that the respondents failed to release the due share of funds to the local governments, in particular KMC, from 2008 till date and thus they are liable to release such funds with mark-up.
He added that in view of the political realities, it is imperative that the Supreme Court should pass corrective orders so that the local government institutions are empowered. The petitioners said that since 2008, an amount of Rs 1,227 billion has been allocated by the Sindh government for the Annual Development Programmes (ADPs), saying hardly any fund from the ADPs has ever been allocated to be spent on Urban Sindh though the fund earmarked for the rural Sindh has been eaten away entirely.
Barrister Nasim pointed out that on September 16, 2013 the PPP government legislated Sindh Local Government Act 2013 with an intend to take over the control of the devolved departments by amending Sections 74 and 75 of the act in violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution when the municipal functions can not be allocated to the provincial government or any other body or authority under its control. He alleged that thus the provincial government abused the 2013 act by making a parallel statute, rules and regulations to usurp the powers of the local governments.
The petitioners requested the court to issue directives to the departments for immediate release of due share to the local governments of Sindh, especially to KMC, for the period from 2008 till date along with mark-up. According to the petitioner, the OZT share of KMC comes to about Rs 60.34 billion in eight years from 2008 to 2016, but the corporation received only Rs 30.9 billion. “Hence KMC is entitled to get the rest of Rs 29.4 billion which have been retained illegally by the Sindh government,” the petition said.
It has been explained in the petition that OZT does not form part of the Divisible Pool under Clause 7 of the Presidential Order No V of 2010 which deals with the distribution of revenues and grants and provides that 0.66 per cent of the provincial share in the net proceeds of divisible pool will be paid as compensation for the losses on account of octroi and zila tax.
Barrister Faroogh Nasim further said that the provincial finance commission has no power to increase or decrease the amount of 0.66 per cent of the net proceeds of the divisible pool of the federal government. He added that on the basis of NFC Award of 2009-10, KMC was within its rights to claim Rs 29.39 billion as arrears from the provincial government which were withheld without any jurisdiction along with mark-up and additional mark-up.-Business Recorder