KARACHI: Murtaza Wahab, a prominent leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was inaugurated as the mayor of Karachi on Monday, following his triumph in the recent elections against Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party. The oath of office was administered by Provincial Election Commissioner Sindh Ejaz Anwar Chohan.
Shortly after Wahab’s induction, his deputy, Salman Abdullah, also took the oath, solidifying their positions within the city administration. The mayoral elections, held on June 15, witnessed Wahab securing 173 votes, while his opponent from JI managed to secure 160 votes.
However, the election results were marred by controversy as JI leveled allegations against the PPP and the Sindh administration, accusing them of employing force and financial influence to ensure victory for their candidates. Wahab and other PPP leaders firmly rejected these allegations.
The tense atmosphere escalated when clashes erupted between workers of the PPP and JI outside the Arts Council, the designated polling station for the mayoral election.
The swearing-in ceremony of Mayor Murtaza Wahab and Deputy Mayor Salman Abdullah was attended by PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, along with several ministers and advisors.
Murtaza Wahab, born in Karachi on December 25, 1983, is a lawyer by profession. He obtained his education from Government Commerce College and holds a law degree from the University of London. Wahab previously served as an advisor on law and was elected unopposed as a senator in August 2017. He has held various portfolios, including Anti-Corruption Establishment, environment, climate change, coastal development, and information. In 2021, he served as the administrator of Karachi, legal advisor, and spokesperson for the Sindh government.
Despite assuming the mayoral position, Wahab’s appointment faces legal challenges, as a petition has been filed against him in the Sindh High Court. The petition seeks to “de-notify, suspend, and cancel” his appointment, citing constitutional violations.
In response to the allegations of electoral misconduct, PPP Chairman Bilawal addressed the media, emphasizing the party’s dedication to combating hatred and extremism in Karachi. Bilawal highlighted the sacrifices made by PPP leaders for the nation and the restoration of democracy. He expressed confidence in responding to the rigging allegations through performance, asserting that the PPP does not engage in election tampering but rather faces such challenges themselves.
Bilawal assured the people of Karachi that the PPP would continue its efforts to address the city’s problems, emphasizing that Karachi’s prosperity is crucial for the country. He pledged personal involvement in resolving the city’s issues and urged unity, rejecting divisive politics. Bilawal acknowledged the joint responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments in tackling Karachi’s challenges and assured cooperation between the provincial government and the mayor’s office. He further emphasized the utilization of tax revenue for the benefit of the citizens, promoting collaboration between the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and the private sector.
Bilawal highlighted the collective resolution of water-related issues in Karachi and expressed confidence in Murtaza Wahab’s performance, proclaiming it would surpass that of previous mayors.