Sindh Assembly session adjourned as mystery shrouds fate of LG system


The Sindh Assembly session, which was due to be held today (Tuesday), has been adjourned till August 19th (Monday).
According to sources, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani used his special powers under Rule 30 of the Rules of Procedures of the Provincial Assembly to put the session off before holding it.
This pre-session adjournment marked the dubious state of affairs hovering over the fate of local government system that the Sindh legislature was to take up for amendment in Monday’s session.
“We have been asked to stop preparatory arrangements for the session until next order,” said a Sindh Assembly official.
The official said the provincial government seemed to have failed to lobby support for the “suitable” amendments it wanted to make in the local bodies laws.
“The Assembly would now reassemble at 10am on Aug 19th (Monday),” said the official.
Moreover, the political analysts believe that the provincial government was running against time to give a final shape to the local government system in line with the recent order of the Supreme Court.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) dominated provincial government was “secretly” moving to amend the local government laws to have what the sources said a system that was a “mixture” of the legislation promulgated in 1979 and in 2001 during Musharraf era.
“The session has not been summoned formally. But everything is ready,” said a source privy to the ongoing developments.
The source further said that Tuesday was likely to see the provincial lawmakers reassemble for introducing changes in the local government laws.
“The Sindh government is running against time to meet the Aug 15 deadline when the provincial government is required to face the Supreme Court,” said the source.
The apex court had ordered the provinces to come up with final and comprehensive strategy regarding the holding of local government elections by the 15th.
A special committee, led by Law Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro had already submitted its report on the options available on the would-be local government system.
The MQM, a major stakeholder in the longstanding debate over the system, however, had rejected the committee report.
The assembly session was expected to start at 10am Tuesday, the source informed further.
Though the PPP had a simple majority in the provincial legislature with its 91 lawmakers, but the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) led opposition was likely to make huge hue and cry in the 168-member House.
The Sindhi nationalist parties attitude, including the PML-F, towards the intended legislation was yet to be seen.
These developments indicated how deeply the politically-congested Sindh province was divided. The PPP despite enjoying a simple majority in the house were still bound to look at the MQM which dominated much of the province’s urban landscape.
Troubled immensely by international legal crisis, the MQM seemed to have decided to keep aloof from the treasury benches in the provincial assembly as well as in centre, at least for the time being.
This pro-opposition tendency of the MQM had denied the PPP the easy going ways of playing with the legislation that the party had been enjoying for last five years while being at the helm of affairs, especially in Sindh.