Opposition parties reject cabinet’s proposals on LG law as ‘insufficient’

Published February 23, 2022
Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday. — APP
Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday. — APP

KARACHI: A day after the cabinet’s approval to some amendments to the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill including making next Karachi mayor just a member of the governing bodies of the city’s development authorities, major opposition parties on Tuesday rejected the move and warned of protests if the provincial government did not revamp the law in line with the Constitution and directives of the apex court.

The warning came from almost all major political parties just a day after the Sindh cabinet approved further amendments to the local government bill.

The Sindh government among other amendments offered to make the next Karachi mayor a member of the governing bodies of the city’s development authorities and chairman of the water board.

PTI says PPP deceiving people of Sindh

However, the opposition parties called it ‘not enough’ and accused the Pakistan Peoples Party government of deceiving the people of Sindh.

First came the response from Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh, who told a press conference that the provincial government had assured on the floor of the house that an all inclusive select committee would be formed to revisit and revise the SLGA 2013 in consultation with all representative parties and in accordance with directives of the Supreme Court.

He said the PPP government had not opened the doors of dialogue so far.

Mr Sheikh, also a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, said the PTI wanted political harmony and stability of the parliamentary system and made several attempts for resolution of the issue through dialogue, but the ‘feudal mindset’ had proved again that it didn’t believe in inclusivity compelling the opposition to go for a protest.

“Now the PTI will hold demonstration in the Sindh Assembly and also on streets, if we are not allowed to speak in the assembly on LG law and other burning issues of Sindh. PTI parliamentarians will also hold a sit-in outside CM house and Bilawal house,” he warned.

MQM

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), on whose petition the Supreme Court had given a landmark verdict on earlier this month directing the provincial government to devolve financial, administrative and political powers to local governments as enshrined in the Constitution, also rejected the amendments approved by the cabinet a day before.

A party spokesperson said that it would not accept any move less than the implementation of the verdict of the apex court in letter and spirit. “We have already launched a struggle for an empowered local government system in accordance with Article 140-A of the Constitution and as per the verdict of the Supreme Court.”

PSP warns of protests

Another reaction came from the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), which had staged a week-long sit-in for restoration of an empowered local government system and called it off after reaching a signed and written agreement with the PPP government that assured it to meet majority of its demands.

Speaking at a press conference here, former city mayor and PSP chairman Mustafa Kamal said that if things didn’t go as had been demanded by the party and if the PPP failed to honour a signed accord, his party would stage protest sit-ins.

“The provincial finance commission award and divisible pool as per the signed agreement between us and the Sindh government should be implemented,” he said. “If PPP violates the agreement no one can stop us from taking to the streets.”

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2022

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