Amid reports of a restoration of the local government system of 2001 after talks with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah held a meeting at the CM House to console those who would lose out if the commissionerate system were scrapped. On Saturday, Shah assured a room full of commissioners, deputy commissioners (DCs), DIGs at the New Sindh Secretariat that the government would not pull the system back.
While the jury is out on the fate of the commissionerate system, Shah decided to put aside speculation and suggested everyone keep their heads down and keep working.
Shrugging off all rumours and reports to the contrary, the CM went on to say that the provincial government and law department has recommended that the federal government seek magisterial powers for commissioners and DCs to make the system more efficient. If necessary, the government would think up amendments to the recent laws passed by assembly to improve performance. “Deputy Commissioners would be the chief executives of their districts,” he said. “All district administration, including the police, would work under their command.”
The CM felt the need to hammer home the fact that the provincial and federal governments are the only two governments in the province and there is no district government. “The system of district government is a direct interference in the affairs of the provincial government, therefore we have repealed it.” If necessary, the government would also make amendments to the local government system 1979, he added.
The CM stressed the need to work hard in the light of recent legislation for revival of commissionarate system, Police Act 1861. He directed the authorities at the meeting to execute their authority and perform their duties efficiently. He put the responsibility of “showing the writ of the government” on the shoulders of the DCs and SSPs. He told them to work together towards bettering the province and maintaining the law in their jurisdictions.
Talk moved on to the rise of prices in Ramazan. Shah reiterated that assistant commissioners have been authorised to fix the prices of essential commodities. Earlier, Senior Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Home Minister Manzoor Wassan, Sindh Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah parroted the CM’s beliefs and pushed everyone to help make the revival of the system a success. Routine talk of strengthening and protecting educational institutions also came up. Provincial Minister Agha Siraj Durrani, Sindh Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, IG Police Wajid Ali Durrani, Additional Chief Secretary Waseem Ahmed and others attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.