SA session likely on 20th; legislation on restoring LG system expected

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The Sindh government has decided to convene the provincial assembly’s session by October 20, in which legislation on Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan’s ordinance regarding restoration of 2001’s local government (LG) system in the province is likely to be made, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has directed the Law Department to prepare a summary for convening the Sindh Assembly session by October 20, said the sources.
They said the government is expected to move a bill to provide legal cover to the ordinance issued by the governor on abolishing the commissionerate system and restoring 2001’s LG system.
They also said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement would certainly seek granting legal cover to the ordinance as the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had agreed on it to appease its coalition partner.
However, they added, it would be a testing time for the PPP lawmakers if the government proposes such legislation because the party has already faced strong criticism on the issue in the entire province.
Sources said many PPP lawmakers, including some ministers, have been unable to defend their party’s decision of revoking the commissionerate system and restoring 2001’s LG system in the province.
Some PPP lawmakers still say that they would not support such legislation in the provincial legislative house, the sources added.
They said the ruling PPP has definitely felt a threatening situation in this connection after four of its Members Provincial Assembly (MPAs) – Fayyaz Butt, Imdad Pitafi, Javed Shah and Imran Zafar Leghari – openly accompanied former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza to a meeting with Pir Pagara on Monday.
The PPP has been publicly disowning Mirza’s statements, but if four of the party’s MPAs have joined the former home minister, it could be a matter of concern for the PPP leadership, especially after recently restoring its relationship with the MQM, they added.
Sources said Mirza’s increasing support among the PPP lawmakers was perhaps the main reason that PPP-backed Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro was forced to announce accepting Mirza’s over a month old resignation.
PPP sources said Mirza has been rapidly receiving support of PPP lawmakers and he could create problems for the party and the government in the assembly session in the coming days.
Sources said some PPP leaders have advised the party leadership to avoid proposing restoration of 2001’s LG system in the assembly session because it would create more friction in the parliamentary party.
The PPP leadership has been advised to continue implementation of 2001’s LG system through the governor’s ordinance by granting extension, the sources added.