The Sindh government on Wednesday invited opposition parties led by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to the table talks on the fate of disputed local government system.
Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani and Law Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro are reported to have urged the opposition parties to resolve the lingering dispute over local bodies system through dialogue but not protest demonstrations.
Talking to journalists in his office, Durrani said the PPP, a majority ruling party in Sindh, was well placed to hold local body polls in the province within next six months. “The 1979 local government system is not a divine law and may be amended,” the speaker said. “We invite all the opposition parties including the MQM to come to the table talk,” he added.
Without naming anyone, Durrani reminded the detractors of prevailing 1979 LG system that in the past they had not only contested local body elections but also administered the city in a mayor’s capacity under the same system.
“Through dialogue only one can decide what kind of LG system should be there in the province,” said Durrani who served as a local government minister during the five-year rule of the PPP.
Meanwhile, Law Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro also stressed upon the opposition to propose amendments in the LG system instead of politicising the issue. Talking to reporters in his office, the law minister said the fate of new LG system would be decided in Sindh Assembly and not on the streets.
He said the masses had rejected the PPP-backed People’s Local Government Act as well as the one introduced by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf. “The 1979 local government system is the one which was amended in the past and the same can be done now,” the law minister contended, adding, “The opposition parties, therefore, should come to the table instead of doing politics.”
To a query, Dr Mandhro replied that all standing committees of the house including the public accounts committee would be formed in the next assembly session. About the out-of-turn promotions, the law minister said the Sindh government had sought some time from the Supreme Court to address the administrative problems it was facing. “No officer would be extended any relaxation that could go against the order of the apex court,” he concluded.