KARACHI, Dec 06 (APP):Opposition parties in Sindh Assembly while declining negotiations on Sindh Local Government Amendment Bill 2021 on Monday said that consultation regarding LG system was only possible if Sindh Government withdrew the authoritarian amendments.
Sindh Local Government Act 2013 and recent amendments are unconstitutional and in violation of law of land and human rights and all the opposition parties will stage protest against it across the province.
Leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh announced while addressing a joint press conference along with parliamentary leaders of Mutahida Qoumi Movement-Pakistan, Grand Democratic Alliance and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Bilal Gaffar here at Sindh Assembly Building.
Haleem Adil said that all the opposition parties consider government’s informal offer for talks meaningless as the opposition should have been consulted before introducing the bill in the Assembly. All opposition parties have consulted on the amendment bill and agreed that the black law had deprived local governments of the already limited powers, he stated.
Opposition leader said that they have conveyed their concerns to the Governor of Sindh Imran Ismail in this regard and have informed him that the bill was passed in an illegal, unconstitutional and non-parliamentary manner.
PPP knew that it cannot win the next elections by vote that is why they wanted to win through notes, he added. “We also did not accept the Local Government Act 2013 which deprived LG bodies of Sindh especially Karachi of their powers”, he said adding that now PPP had introduced more amendments those were contravention of articles 7, 8, 32 and 140-A.
Haleem said that the amendments enabled anyone to become mayor and chairman even if he was unable to win from his union council while the bill also lacks tenure of elected members and chairmen or mayor as well as arrangement for interim period.
Furthermore, the secretary local government might delegate or deprive LG bodies from any of their power including levy a tax, he added. Referring to provincial LG minister Nasir Shah’s offer he said that it was an informal telephonic contact and if Sindh government was serious the leader of the house should have contacted in a formal way. PTI and MQM-P had already submitted separate LG bills in assembly but those were not presented on the floor of the house, he said adding that those bills could be considered as input of the respective parties.
Recalling the issue of Police reforms in Sindh Haleem said that PPP had been pursuing their own interests under the guise of negotiations. “PTI rejects ‘Zardarana’ system and will resort to province wide protest. We will stage sit in outside Chief Minister House if required,” he maintained.
Muhammad Hussain of MQM-P, speaking at the occasion, said that all the political parties of Sindh in or outside of parliament had serious concerns over LG amendment bill and they were protesting against the LG bill as all the stakeholders- even higher courts- believed that people of province could not be provided with relief without delegation of administrative, financial and political rights to local government institutions.
Political governments always remained reluctant of holding LG elections while PPP’s approach, policies and politics has remained unfriendly towards people as they during their 13 year long rule never constituted Provincial Finance Commission nor transferred authority and responsibilities to grass root level, he observed. “MQM-P rejects law aimed at corruption and usurpation of peoples’ rights and it would protest against anti-democracy laws,” he vowed.
GDA’s Husnain Mirza observed that bill was approved in haste while bulldozing assembly rules and GDA rejected the illegal and unconstitutional bill. He stressed on positive revision of laws and rules governing local governance in the province and suggested that a select committee having representation of all parliamentary parties should be constituted to discuss and finalize a unanimous draft bill.
He said that although 13 amendments had been introduced in SLGA 2013 to date but it had completely failed and people of the province were suffering miseries. He vowed to resist all the anti-people measures of PPP those were aimed at facilitating a specific faction of the party and also announced to hold protest demonstrations in every village, town and city of Sindh.
Bilal Abdul Gaffar pointed out that there was no citation of Article 140-A of constitution in the SLGA 2013 nor it provides for devolution of power. PPP wanted to make local government subordinate to provincial government so that their powers and authorities could be withdrawn just by a notification.
He said that PPP called itself champion of democracy but constitutional authority of basic democracy institutions was relegated as they did not want to see empowered local governments. PPP has turned all the basic facilities and institutions upside down during 14 year long rule while people of Sindh has rejected the SLG amendment bill, he noted and pronounced to hold protest at all levels.