KARACHI, Oct 1: The estranged partners of the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition government in Sindh on Monday accused PPP legislators of betraying Sindh by adopting the Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) bill in a hurry that according to them has laid the foundation of Sindh division.

Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, National People’s Party, Awami National Party and PML-Q parliamentary parties, who after staging a sit-in on the steps of the assembly building against the speaker for not recording their protest over the bill and declaring the bill ‘adopted with consensus’, were addressing media persons outside the assembly building.

Jam Madad Ali of the PML-F, who earlier led a walkout from the house as the chair after adoption of the bill gave floor to MQM minister Syed Sardar Ahmad to speak on his adjournment motion, termed the day most regretful and worse than the day when ‘One Unit’ was formed though the PPP claimed to be the champion of democracy and whose leadership had given sacrifices for the cause of people.

He said their only demand was withdrawal of the SPLGO 2012 and formulation of new laws according to the aspiration of people. He added that Sindh was a single entity and as such its system from Karachi to Kashmore should be uniform that was also the voice of the people of Sindh.

The PML-F leader said the Monday session was suddenly summoned and they only came to know about it last night. “We were given to understand that the bill would not be taken up in today’s session but suddenly it was taken up. What was the emergency to table the bill in hurry?” he asked.

He claimed that all the parties opposing the bill were now with them. “Besides having the support and guidance of Pir Pagara whose ancestors had fought the war of independence and offered great sacrifices instead of compromising on the interest of people of Sindh, PML-L Arbab group, Sardar Ghaus Bux Mahar and ANP, all people of Sindh are now with us and coming election will prove that Sindh was betrayed by the PPP.”

He expressed surprise over the attitude of the speaker, PPP minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and others who used to stage a sit-in along with them on the floor of the house in the past but termed the sit-in by the PML-F illegal and passed taunting remarks. They did not even spare two women lawmakers, he added.

NPP lawmaker Masroor Khan Jatoi said they had made it clear to the government that there was a need to dispel misgivings regarding the ordinance. “The people wanted uniform system in the province. Why you want to divide the people? The government ought not to pursue the policy of Hum idher or tum udher and what was the need to issue the ordinance in the darkness of night and similarly summoning the house in the night. Why was the PPP in a hurry when the matter could be sorted out by joining heads together?”He said the law was not acceptable to people and if they gave mandate in the elections to his party, the NPP would change the law.

One of the ANP two lawmakers Amir Nawab said they were not surprised over the way new law was passed in the assembly as earlier too the government had adopted in a hurry a law declaring different local government systems for Karachi and Hyderabad and rest of the province. But that law was repealed after protests against it, he added.

He said if there was any shortcoming in the 1979 local government law, it could be done away with by making necessary amendments to it with the consultation of the coalition parties.

The ANP leader said the dual-system bill was passed in a hurry whose adoption was preferred by putting of a discussion on an adjournment motion admitted earlier.

Despite having a majority in the house, the PPP should have consulted not only the parties having a representation in the assembly but also those without having any representation in the house in the spirit of democracy, he said. But it did not take all of its coalition partners on board before promulgation of the ordinance, he added.

“We feel that the foundation for the division of Sindh has been laid and the PPP government will be responsible for its consequences,” he added.

PML-Q legislator Shaharyar Mahar said that they were often blamed for supporting the local government system of 2001 though the party’s only fault was that they did not boycott the elections. But, he added, there were also many PPP leaders who were part of that system.

He said that they were not going to resign from the assembly but would continue to play their role by sitting in the opposition benches. He said the speaker’s attitude was undemocratic as he was not given the floor though he was on his allotted seat.

Mr Mahar said the new law gave powers to the metropolitan corporations that were different from those given to the district councils. “Our point of view is that in the province all local government institutions should have uniform laws and enjoy similar powers.”