Calming the waters

DUE to the controversial new local bodies’ law, the situation in Sindh is heading towards a dangerous point. Protests over the past two weeks have so far claimed three lives. Meanwhile, there have been hot exchanges between members of the ruling parties and the opponents of the new law.

Presiding over a core committee PPP meeting in Karachi, President Zardari said that the new law was not the final word, and that the door is open for talks with estranged coalition partners. … The core committee decided to hold a public meeting on Oct 15 in Hyderabad. Meanwhile, nationalists have announced a wheel-jam and shutterdown strike on Oct 14. …By holding the public meeting, the ruling party wanted to convey the message that the majority of the people support it. For the nationalists, it’s a question of life and death; they would lose their reputation if they backed down. …The government was in a hurry to bring about this law. Further, the path adopted for the passage of the law was not democratic.

…[T]he majority of Sindhis consider the law a usurpation of their rights. Therefore, the government is responsible for taking the people into its confidence. It did not display the required light hand. On the contrary, some of the people belonging to the ruling party used language that further fuelled the situation. …The local bodies’ law should not be seen from the nationalists’ perspective only, since the common man of the province has the same reservations. ...We are afraid for when this protest touches a high degree of hatred. ...Sindh and the Sindhi people would lose. The government should think with a cool mind and repair what was lost due to rushing. We hope measures will be taken which discourage confrontation and reduce hatred.—(Oct 7)

Selected and translated by Sohail Sangi.

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