PPP tramples over MQM’s LG ‘dream’


The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was left politically isolated on Monday in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) dominated Sindh Assembly which passed into law with a majority vote the controversial Sindh Local Government Act 2013 (SLGA-2013) that provides for holding local body elections on party basis.
Other provinces, prominent being Punjab, are preparing to hold non-party based local body elections, the PPP-ruled Sindh have planned otherwise as the house, while passing SLGA-2013 clause-by-clause, rejected the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F’s) amendment in Section 34 of the bill calling for holding non-party based elections.
In addition, the provincial legislature deprived the Sindh governor of his powers to appoint the vice chancellors (VCs) of the provincial universities by amending the Sindh University Act 1972.
Given immediate effect, the Sindh Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013 has made it mandatory for Sindh Governor Dr Eshratul Ebad to seek the advice of the chief minister while appointing VCs of the universities.
Except for unrest witnessed among MQM’s ranks, the day saw complete political harmony prevailing in the 168-member house with opposition legislators from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), PML-F and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supported the ruling PPP in getting the much-debated bill, that was comfortably passed without the backing of the MQM.
The house witnessed a brief argument between the PPP and MQM lawmakers reminding each other of the part they played in local government system introduced by the military dictators.
PML-N’s Irfanullah Khan Marwat went a step ahead and announced his party’s unconditional support to the PPP-backed bill that, he said, was good for the province. “We would have supported the bill even if you had not incorporated our suggestions in it,” the PML-N lawmaker said amid desk-thumping from treasury benches.
“We had set no preconditions as we are not here to do opposition for the sake of opposition,” said Marwat. He warned against the house against indulging in past political practices during dictatorial regimes. “We better not to touch upon the stories related to dictators that, if detailed, would take the things too far,” the PML-N leader said.
PML-F’s Imtiaz Sheikh parliamentary party leader in Sindh Assembly said the 1979 local government laws needed changes to be improved further. The new bill, he said, would provide the people with a political structure where the governance would be on the grass-root level.
He, however, appealed to the PPP to once again consult the disenchanted MQM for making the law more inclusive. “All the parties represented here have been part of the past dictators-backed systems,” he reminded the quarrelling PPP and MQM.
The PML-F leader said his side had proposed the establishment of district account committees, creating the office of leader of opposition in district and city councils, third party audit of the local government’s financial accounts, delimitation of electoral constituencies by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the appointment of grade 16 and above local government officers by the high court judges.
“The law should be passed. We support it. Pir Pagaro shares the same views,” Sheikh concluded.
“We reject this bill sir,” were the remarks Leader of Opposition Faisal Sabzwari when he started his speech. Elaborating, the MQM lawmaker claimed that the proposed legislation was against the spirit of the constitution, Article 148 which provided for a full-fledged local government system powers of which ranged from budgeting to controlling education on the school level.
Faisal also clarified the impression that his party was happy with the Musharraf-backed SLGO 2001. “Not at all. We were not (happy),” he asserted and illustrated a huge Parking Plaza in the city’s sadder area that, he said, was though built by then Mayor Mustafa Kamal but was still lying unused just because there was a lack of coordination between the city government and the provincial authorities at home and traffic departments.
The leader of opposition also claimed that the proposed SLGA-2013 was more divisive than Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012. “The 2012’s bill was dubbed as dual because it envisaged metropolitan and municipal status for different districts. But, interestingly, 2013’s bill provides for the establishment of metropolitan corporations, district municipal corporations and rural district councils,” he said.
“Isn’t it a division?” the MQM leader asked the critiques of SPLGO-2012 adding: “If 2012’s was dual system this one brings triple.”
The Sindh government, the MQM lawmaker said, was to bridge the urban-rural divide keeping in mind ground realities of the province.
Faisal made a cursory reference to the bone of contention that he said was mutual suspicion. “This (situation) would prevail unless everyone put aside their prejudices,” he added.
Backed by party fellows, including Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Khalid Ahmed, Faisal urged the treasury to reconsider the bill and incorporate therein all the proposals that could bring the law in conformity with the constitution.
Many in the press gallery deemed it a wielded threat of showing its street power, when Faisal warned that millions of MQM voters, whose representation constituted one-third in the assembly, would be mulling to take to the street to make the majority reconsider its decision.
On the request of Senior Education Minister Nisar Khuhro, the bill was passed into law clause-by-clause after certain amendments proposed by Shehryar Mehar of PML-F. The house, however, vetoed an amendment moved by Meher against Section 34 providing that “the elections to the councils under this Act shall be held on party basis”.
Khuhro explained that when political parties were to control the local body polls from behind the curtain, why not to do this openly.
Also, the house adopted a unanimous resolution condemning Aug 16 attack on the office of a local television channel and calling upon the government to ensure full security to the journalists.


  1. Every modern major city of the world has its own governing body.
    Karachi is one of the largest cities of the world. It needs its own administration or it will just explode out of proportions. The corrupt and inefficient Waderashahi cannot manage their own small towns. Yet they want to oversee and control this huge city just to fill in their pockets and to satisfy their dumb and backward nationalist and ethnic agendas.

    This bill is a huge setback for the planned development of the urban areas of Sindh.
    It is regressive and takes back Sindh back into the 19th century.

    PPP did a good job in bringing back the Pakistan to the stone age. Now it wants to apply its skills on ruining the developed urban areas of Sindh.

    It's a sad day for people who have dreamed of a progressive modern Karachi.
    It's a great day for the political forces who want a slow, inefficient, biased, corrupt and constipated bureacracy to take Karachi back to the stone age.

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