Local government elections could be held within 90 days provided there is a consensus with our coalition partners, said Sindh Minister for Local Government Agha Siraj Durrani.
He addressed a press conference at the Sukkur DCO office on Wednesday. According to Durrani, last year’s election was disrupted by the flash floods. “Though we have a majority in Sindh, we want to carry on the process with the agreement of our coalition partners,” he said. No separate law can, however, be made for Karachi and Hyderabad’s local bodies system.
The Pakistan Peoples Party’s main coalition partner is the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the Sindh government. Durrani criticised the local government system during Musharraf’s regime. “Huge funds were allocated to districts for development works but we cannot see the results.”
He called the North Sindh Urban Services Corporation a failure because the department had failed to deliver on the water supply, sanitation and drainage in Sukkur, Rohri, Khairpur, Shikarpur and Larkana. He commented on the district government’s performance. “The Mirpurkhas district council has not paid electricity bills for the last eight years,” he said, adding, “They took advantage of the violent incidents in December 2007 sparked by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and said that the district and taluka councils claim their records were lost or burnt.”
The minister said that 81 illegal high-rise commercial and residential plazas are being constructed in Sukkur. According to the Sindh Building Control Ordinance 1979, the municipal administration has no authority to approve building plans. “All the plazas that are being constructed have been approved by the TMA and not a single TMA has a planning officer or a qualified engineer who can approve the plans,” he said. Strict action would be taken against such builders.
Replying to a question about the collapse of Sajjad Plaza at Hussaini Road in Sukkur in December 2008, the minister said that he himself had rushed to the city and ordered an inquiry. But when the victims’ families forgave those responsible and accepted compensation, there was nothing the government could do.
To a question about taking action against corrupt nazims, he said that they had initiated action against some nazims but they went to court and were provided relief.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2011.a