The Awami National Party (ANP) cried foul on Wednesday over the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s ongoing talks with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) pertaining to a new local government (LG) system in Sindh.
Senator Shahi Syed of ANP brought up the issue on a point of order and termed the development a ‘conspiracy’, adding that allies other than the MQM had been ignored during talks.
“I would categorically say that other allies and specifically ANP were deliberately kept in the dark because we are also an important stakeholder in Sindh,” Syed said.
Syed made it clear that the ANP would not be party to any unconstitutional move made by the government, adding that bringing the Musharraf-era local government system was as good as having a parallel system of governance in Sindh.
Tahir Husain Mashahdi of MQM said there was no need to create fuss over the matter, adding that the LG system always ensured empowerment of people at the grass-root level.
Referring to the issue of enforced disappearances, Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash of ANP said the army should abstain from misadventures in the country, calling for a correction in the strategic direction of the army.
Earlier, the Senate session was disrupted during the question hour over a reply given by Minister of State for Defence Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, regarding roads constructed by the National Highway Authority (NHA) during the last two years.
Mashhadi of MQM said that out of the total 1,191 kilometre road network, Sindh’s share only amounted to 40 kilometres.
Zahid Khan of ANP wanted to know the details of the roads constructed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and refused to be informed in private by the minister. Khan criticised the bureaucracy and alleged that the House was being misinformed.
Kamil Ali Agha of the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) said that the matter should be referred to the standing committee.
Leader of the House in Senate Jahangir Badar observed that it was for parliament to keep a check on the executive authority. Interior Minister Rehman Malik also suggested a committee be established to take up the issue.
The statements later forced the chair to refer the matter to the standing committee on communications. The House will discuss the law and order situation in the country on Thursday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.
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