Fireworks over new Local Government bill in provincial assembly likely today
By: Habib Khan Ghori
KARACHI: Fireworks on the issue of a controversial bill on a new local government system in the province are expected in the Sindh Assembly when it meets on Monday.
Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ibad summoned the provincial assembly session for Monday at 10am and besides other routine business, a government bill on the new local government system based on the recently promulgated the Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance 2012 was included in the order of the day.
While lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, constituting an overwhelming majority in the 168-member Sindh Assembly, are openly supporting the LG law, it is expected that the house would witness enough fireworks from the lawmakers belonging to the estranged coalition partners who had soon after the promulgation of the SPLGO had announced parting of ways with the government.
The estranged coalition parties are the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, the National People’s Party and the Awami National Party and the ministers belonging to these parties had tendered their resignations in protest. A PML-Q lawmaker, Shahryar Mahar, who was also a minister in the provincial cabinet, also disassociated himself from the government.
Although the ministers of the estranged parties had sent their resignation to the Chief Minister’s House on Sept 11, no decision was taken because the resignations were not submitted to the provincial governor, who is the competent authority to take a decision in such matters.
Besides estranged coalition parties, the nationalists parties in Sindh also opposed the new LG system and Sindh Bachayo Committee convener Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah on Sunday gave a strike call across the province for Monday against the possible passage of the LG bill.
In an attempt to mend fences with his estranged allies, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had already said that his government was ready to address their reservations when the bill would be tabled table in the assembly. “If they have any amendment to further improve the local government system, the law could be amended,” he said.
On Sunday the CM told newsmen after meeting PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain that the government bill on the new local government system would be tabled in the assembly when it meets on Monday.
He expressed the hope that the bill would be passed by members of the house. “We have a majority in the house and as per the principle the will of majority should be honoured.”
When his attention was drawn towards a strike call given by the nationalist parties, the CM said the people in the province were with the government and if any one tried to take the law into his own hand, he would have to face the consequences.
Answering another question, he said if any minister wanted to resign, he should tender his resignation to the governor instead of submitting it to him.
Meanwhile, a parliamentary party meeting of the PPP was held on Sunday evening at the CM House to formulate its strategy for the Monday assembly session where the local government bill would be tabled for adoption.
The parliamentary party of the MQM would meet on Monday before the session. Lawmakers of the estranged parties would also meet in the chamber of the parliamentary party leader of the PML-F, Jam Madad Ali, before the assembly session to formulate their strategy to lodge a protest against the LG bill.