THREE days of talks between the allies on the local bodies’ system have concluded and the Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance has been promulgated…. Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Nawabshah have been given the status of metropolitan corporations where mayors and deputy mayors will be appointed while in the districts, there will be district councils.

In this democratic era, we fail to understand why the Sindh government promulgated an ordinance instead of getting it passed by the provincial assembly. This has generated a controversy, with different political parties terming it a black law reminiscent of dictatorships. The coalition partners, the ANP and PML-F have condemned it and said they weren’t consulted. The nationalists are dead opposed to it and have threatened to launch a campaign against the local bodies’ system. But the government claims the law will eliminate disparities between rural and urban Sindh.

Sindh is a PPP stronghold and whenever the party is in need, the province stands by it. Regrettably, though, the PPP’s attitude towards Sindh is hardly different from that of dictators. …

Losses suffered under dictatorial regimes are understandable, for Sindh was punished for its struggle towards democracy and its love for the late Z.A. Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. But today, it is inexplicable that no heed is paid to the aspirations of Sindh. The people of Sindh did not object as to who was made a partner in the ruling coalition. It is unfair when, to appease one partner, a system is introduced that will deepen differences. The government faced agitations in the past and is now repeating the same mistake.

The new local bodies’ system is in the interests of neither Sindh nor the PPP. The controversial system may fuel ethnic clashes; the province already lags behind development-wise and clashes could push this land back many decades. It will be unwise to sacrifice the interests and rights of Sindh for personal and political gains. …—(Sept 9)

Selected and translated by Sohail Sangi.

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