KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday said that the provincial government had decided to do away with the provisions of ‘secret ballot’ and election of ‘any person’ as mayor, deputy mayor, chairman and vice-chairman of a council instead of elected member in the newly passed local bodies amended law as the government was committed to strengthening local council. He welcomed input from the opposition.
Speaking to the media after a cabinet meeting at CM House, he said that town municipal committees (TMCs) or towns were created on the recommendation of opposition members, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Jamaat-i-Islami.
“When towns are created, they are opposing them, which is surprising to me,” he said.
The CM said that TMCs were being introduced in the metropolitan and municipal corporations. “This will help devolution of service delivery at the lower and manageable level. It was a longstanding demand of all major political parties,” he added.
He said that keeping in view rapid urbanisation in Karachi and Hyderabad it was proposed that there would be no rural area or district councils in Karachi and Hyderabad.
The chief minister said that the provincial cabinet decided to reserve one per cent or one seat of membership for transgender and differently-abled persons in each local council.
He said that reserved seats for these segments in local bodies would help bring the marginalised members of society in the mainstream.
The CM said that in 2013, Naimatullah Khan from Karachi, Nasir Shah from Sukkur, Kanwar Naveed Jameel from Hyderabad and many others were not councillors, but they were elected as nazims and now the beneficiaries of that system, MQM, Jamaat-i-Islami, etc were opposing it.
“Therefore, the cabinet accepted the observation of the governor and decided that mayors and chairmen would be councillors,” he added.
On secret balloting and horse-trading, he said: “As per Article 226 of the Constitution ‘all elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be by secret ballot.”
The provincial cabinet had decided that election of mayors/chairmen would be held through show of hands, he added.
The CM said that after detailed deliberations the functions of education and health were withdrawn from local councils.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2021