THE revived Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979 that was in vogue till September 6, 2012 (since repealed by the Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance 2012 on Sept 7, 2012) too was reflective of colonialist policies, which are given below: First, the rural - urban divide, i.e. district councils for rural areas and municipalities for urban areas, within the same district.
Second, control of elected local councils and representatives through the picked bureaucracy/mercenaries — ‘more loyal than the king’.
Third, the continuation of an antiquated feudal system, overwhelmingly dominated by elitists denying the right of vote to the populists Lastly, non - delivery of services to users at the grassroots level.
In contrast, the law promulgated on Sept 7 envisages:
— Extinction of rural - urban divide, by putting the populace of the district under one umbrella called metropolitan council or district council, headed by an elected mayor or elected chairman.
— Strict denial of interference and control of the bureaucracy in the affairs of the elected councils/representatives.
— Break - up of the feudal coterie, enabling the poorest of the poor to share power by participating in the election at the lowest level — Evolving an alternative delivery system of goods and services.
Although the law has been promulgated through an ordinance, it will be placed as a bill before the assembly, within three months from the date of promulgation, where it would be discussed, amended, rejected or accepted. Criticism is the inherent right of every citizen. But crying wolf, terming it to be an attempt to divide the province or to jeopardise the interest of the people of Sindh may result in violence.
It is, therefore, hoped that the government will invite the critics, irrespective of their party affiliations and give them patient hearing.
SYED SARDAR AHMAD MQM Parliamentary Leader, Sindh Assembly, Karachi