ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement have failed to reach accord on the shape of the new local government system in Sindh, and the MQM is reported to have decided to discontinue negotiations with the government on the issue.
The MQM, according to a party insider, has refused to hold further talks on the issue after a series of meetings held recently with the PPP in Islamabad and Karachi did not achieve any breakthrough.
“In a series of meetings held between the PPP and MQM over the LG system for Sindh, the two sides have failed to reach accord to hold the LG polls in the province before general elections which are scheduled to be held in March 2013,” said the source privy to the development.
President’s Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar did not confirm the failure of talks between the two parties but said local bodies elections were not going to be held immediately.
“It is a wrong impression that President Asif Ali Zardari has asked the provincial government of Sindh to hold LG elections immediately,” he said.
An MQM delegation will raise the issue of the LG system during its meeting with President Zardari in Bilawal House Karachi on Monday and apprise him of its reservations.
“We think that both parties have wasted time because PPP has turned down all demands of the MQM for holding the LG polls in Sindh,” said Wasay Jalil, a leader of the Muttahida.
Mr Jalil is a member of the MQM’s committee on local government which has remained engaged with the PPP for a long time.
He said the Muttahida had decided not to sit with the PPP on the issue of LG system because the PPP backed out of its promises regarding functions of devolved ministries after all matters had been settled by the two parties.
“The PPP earlier agreed to incorporate the functions of some 15 devolved ministries in the LG system but later it backed out,” he said.
Mr Jalil said MQM leader Farooq Sattar called President Zardari last week and informed him that the MQM would hold no more talks on the issue because the PPP was reluctant to meet the MQM’s demands even though everything had been decided. He said the issue of development projects of Karachi would also came under discussion at the Monday meeting.
Although the government is about to complete it five-year tenure it has failed to introduce a local government system in the country in place of the one enforced by Gen Musharraf.
The country’s main opposition party – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – which rules Punjab, has done no better and has failed to introduce a new LG system.
Balochistan is the only province which has implemented a new LG system but the system is said to be flawed and needs rectification.
The Awami National Party (ANP), which is PPP’s main coalition partner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is said to be in a position to hold LG polls in the province before the general elections.
“We have prepared a draft of the new system and can hold local bodies elections before general polls,” said an ANP leader who did not want to be named.
The Balochistan government has prepared an LG law but it is said to have many flaws. And a draft of the LG Act prepared by the Punjab government is yet to be taken up by the provincial assembly.
After the lapse of the Local Government Ordinance 2001 and empowerment of provinces to deal with the local government system, the provinces were to enact their own LG acts but they have so far failed to do so, causing administrative and other problems and poor delivery of services by departments.