In 2001, President Musharraf enacted a new system of Local Governance in Pakistan in the form of Local Government Ordinance (LGO 2001) which provided grounds for the making of a very powerful Government of Karachi system. The mayor of Karachi was empowered to take many decisions for the city management and they also had financial independence. After the 2008 when new government took over, it abolished the Local Government Ordinance and abolished the Government of Karachi on 14 February 2010.
Since Karachi Development Authority (KDA) was directly placed under the supervision of Mayor of Karachi, the Mayor's office was situated in Civic Center, Karachi
Under LGO 2001, the Mayor of Karachi had control over master planning, KW&SB, KBCA, KDA, the Karachi revenue Department and the Karachi Land registry. The funds were also directly accessible by the mayor. The powers of the Mayor didn't include Law Enforcement etc., and the Mayor still had to get fundings from the president of Pakistan.
After the gap of six years, the Government of Karachi has been finally restored by the Supreme Court of Pakistan orders which made provinces conduct new local government elections and as a result, Karachi Government has been formed on 30 August 2016.
The current Karachi Local Government System follows Sindh Local Government Act 2013 (SLGA 2013)
The Karachi Local Government consists of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation which is subdivided into of 6 District Municipal Corporations (DMCs) which are headed by Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen. the districts or Zila of Karachi Local Government as of Sindh local government act 2013 are District Central, District West, District East, District South, Malir and Korangi. Each district is further divided into Union Committees (UCs) which are headed by Chairmen and vice chairmen. Each Union committee is further sub divided into four wards. The Local government elections directly elect the UC chairmen/vice chairmen panel and the 4 ward members of each UC. the seats are reserved for women, non Muslim minorities, youth members and labours in a Union Committee all of which are indirectly elected by the direct election of chairman/vice chairman panel.
The chairman of a Union committee belongs to the City council/KMC and elects the Mayor/deputy mayor candidate, while the Vice Chairman of Union Committee elects the chairman/Vice chairman of District Municipal corporation (DMC) and works in District municipal corporation office.
The elections for the Karachi Government were held on 5 December 2015.
According to the new local government system (SLGA 2013) the KDA has been removed from KMC and brought under the provincial government. Since then the office of the mayor is located in KMC building.
According to the new SLGA 2013, the powers of the mayor have been greatly reduced and Mayor is virtually made powerless. KDA, KW&SB, KBCA (renamed to SBCA), Karachi revenue, Karachi land registry, KMTA, transportation (now SMTA), KSWMA (now SSWMA) have been taken away from KMC and merged with KDA. KDA itself has been divided into Malir and Lyari Development Authority. The Mayor now has to ask Sindh Government for the funds, and has to form a joint account with the commissioner of Karachi without whose signature, the funds can't be utilised. The Commissioner of Karachi has parallel role in ruling Government of Karachi as opposed to CDGK, where the role of commissioner was made honorary.
The independent observer organisations like PILDAT, FAFEN argue that not granting adequate powers to the mayors is the direct violation of Article 140(A) of the Pakistani Constitution.
The historic and iconic building of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) houses the offices of mayor and deputy mayor of the city and the city council Hall with 304 members (Union committee chairmen). The foundation of the building was laid in 1927 and the construction was completed in 1930. The cost of building was 1,725,000 RS.
The City Counsel is situated in the KMC building.
After six years The Karachi city counsel held its first meeting on Monday, 3 October 2016, the meeting was presided by the Deputy Mayor of Karachi Arshad Vohra as the imprisoned Mayor of Karachi Waseem Akhtar was disallowed by Sindh Government to appear for the meeting from central jail despite ATC issuing NOC (No Objection Certificate). The 308 members of the Karachi City Council participated in the meeting. The Counsel in its first meeting urged the relevant authorities to allow the Mayor to preside the next meetings based on under trial prisoner (UTP)
Due to increased number of members and unavailability of space, City counsel passed resolution for new city counsel building to accommodate required members. on 3 October 2016
The City of Karachi Municipal Act was promulgated in 1933. Initially the Municipal Corporation comprised the mayor, the deputy mayor and 57 councillors.
In Sind People's Ordinance of 1972 (amended in 1976), provision was made for the establishment of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). In 1976, Karachi Municipal Corporation was upgraded to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. The administrative area of Karachi was a second-level subdivision known as Karachi Division, which was subdivided into five districts: Karachi Central, Karachi East, Karachi South, Karachi West and Malir.
On the Contrary to its latest and amended version in the form of 'Sindh Local Government Act 2013', the 1972 Ordinance provided ample authorities and powers to the Mayor of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation including Master planning, building control, town planning, development etc.
non party based elections were held for a brief period of ten years(1979-1988). In 1992 after culmination of mayoral tenure of Farooq Sattar, the elected mayor system was abolished and the appointed Administrator System was implemented during 1992 - 2001.
This act was passed by Army dictator General Zia ul Haq which restricted role of mayor
In January 2000, under Pervez Musharraf Sindh Local Government Ordinance (SLGO 2001) was passed
The government of Pakistan designed a new devolution of financial resources and responsibilities. This plan abolished the earlier second-level division and merged the five districts of Karachi into a Karachi District. When the devolution plan was implemented in 2001, this district officially became a City District, with the City District Government of Karachi handling its government.
Under CDG Karachi had a three-tier federated system, formed by
The City District Government (CDG) Town Municipal Administrations Union Council Administrations
The City-District of Karachi was divided into 18 Towns governed by elected municipal administrations responsible for infrastructure and spatial planning, development facilitation, and municipal services (water, sanitation, solid waste, repairing roads, parks, street lights, and traffic engineering), with some functions being retained by the CDG.
The towns were sub-divided into 178 localities governed by elected union councils (UC's), which were the core element of the local government system. Each UC was a body of thirteen directly elected members including a Nazim (mayor) and a Naib Nazim (deputy mayor). The UC Nazim headed the union administration and was responsible for facilitating the CDG to plan and execute municipal services, as well as for informing higher authorities about public concerns and complaints.
Local Government Ordinance passed by Sindh assembly proposed creation of five metropolitan corporations Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana and Mirpurkhas. It divided Karachi into Five districts. The Ordinance was promising and provided good powers and authorities to the Mayors, but it was shortly discarded by Sindh Assembly of Feb21, 2013.
The Sindh Local Government Act 2013 (SLGA 2013) further carved the city into 6 districts. two new districts of Korangi and Malir were formed. The Sindh Local Government Act also proposed the formation of 7th district called 'district counsel' which comprises the rural areas of Karachi and doesn't come under Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. The important Local Bodies and revenue generating machines for Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) like KW&SB (Water Board), KDA, KBCA (Karachi Building Control Authority, Solid Waste Management etc. were removed from KMC and merged with the Sindh province. The powers of mayor under new act were greatly reduced compared with the one passed in 2001 and 2012.
In 2014, Supreme court ordered the provinces to restore Local Government system and following the court's decision, Government of Sindh finally agreed to conduct Local Government elections on December 15, 2015.