Sindh Assembly: MQM's move for creation of more provinces opposed

Published: January 21, 2012
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NPP's Masroor Jatoi presenting his resolution in the Sindh Assembly on Friday. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI

NPP's Masroor Jatoi presenting his resolution in the Sindh Assembly on Friday. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI

KARACHI: Many in the Sindh Assembly suspected that Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) initiative for the creation of more provinces in the country was a ploy ultimately designed to divide Sindh. And these fears dominated the session on Friday when a majority of the members decried the constitutional amendment bill moved by the MQM, seeking to carve up new federating units in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In a rare show of unanimity, the public representatives belonging to different parties also opposed any amendment in Article 239(4) of the constitution as suggested by the MQM. The constitutional provision makes the consent of a province mandatory for the creation of a new province.

“No province can be created without two-thirds majority vote of the assembly concerned. This move may lead to a break-up of Sindh in future. We will not allow it. It is against the provincial autonomy,” said Masroor Jatoi of the National Peoples Party (NPP) who wanted to move a resolution on the issue.

Minutes before the session was adjourned, the members belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), its coalition partners (excluding the MQM) and those on the Opposition benches turned restive when the speaker refused to allow Masroor Jatoi to move the resolution.

Drawing the attention of the speaker, Jatoi said that he wanted to move an important resolution, which would not only benefit the people of Sindh, but will also take care of the concerns of other federating units. “The majority of MPAs belonging to four parties, including the PPP, PML-F, PML-Q and ANP have already declared their support for this resolution. I may therefore be allowed to move it,” Jatoi beseeched.

Speaker Nisar Khuhro and provincial law minister, Ayaz Soomro, were not impressed and wanted to defer the issue for Monday. “We also support it, but since time is running out and all members want to speak on it, we should defer the resolution for the next sitting,” Khuhro said.

But Jatoi would not budge and ignoring speaker’s remarks said, “I am going to read the resolution today and we can initiate debate on it later”. He started reading the resolution amid applause from members on either side of the fence. Thumping their desks, some of them stood up to express their support for the resolution.

An annoyed Khuhro signaled to staff to switch Jatoi’s desk microphone off, but he failed to deter Jatoi who continued to read his resolution.

The resolution moved by him reads: “This assembly recommends the Sindh government inform the federal government, National Assembly and other federating units that it is opposed to any amendment to Article 239(4), which was specially included in the Constitution by its founders … to give strong constitutional protection to the borders of Sindh, and that any steps which may facilitate the future break-up of Sindh will never be allowed either by this assembly or the people of Sindh.”

Besides Masroor Jatoi, Imdad Pitafi, Taimour Talpur, Pitanbar Sewani, Mir Ghalib Domki, Sardar Jam Tamachi Unar, Dr. Ahmed Ali Shah, Sharjeel Memon of PPP, Nusrat Abbasi of the PML-F, Ameer Nawab of ANP, Arif Jatoi and Muhammad Ali Malkani of the PML-Q are the signatories to the resolution.

However, before adjourning the session, the speaker said: “I have not allowed you, which means your resolution has not been tabled in this House. This will now be taken up on Monday.”

None of the MQM members reacted on the issue and listened to the proceedings calmly and without any interruption.

Talking to The Express Tribune after the proceedings, Jatoi said, “If the amendment proposed by the MQM is carried out, it will enable any federal government to create provinces without the consent of the provincial assemblies.”

Referring to the proposed amendment to the Article 239(4), he said that MQM wants to exclude clause (4) of the Article 239, which says, “a bill to amend the constitution which would have the effect of altering the limits of a province shall not be presented to the president for assent unless it has been passed by the provincial assembly of that province by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership.”

Inflated Bills

Many members filed complaints against power utility companies, Karachi Electric Supply Company and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company, which according to them were charging exorbitant amounts from the consumers by issuing inflated bills.

MPA Khalid Ahmed of the MQM thought that KESC officials did not bother to go and check the metres in most of the areas. “They never even respond properly to the consumers,” he added.

Jam Tamachi Unar, the chairman of Public Accounts Committee, said that a bill amounting between Rs0.1 to Rs 0.2 million was being issued to schools and basic health centres when the actual amount should be between Rs2,000 to 3,000.

Sindh minister for power, Shazia Marri, said that the government had no representation in the boards of power utility companies. But, she added that, the power department usually constitutes a committee comprising of its members, members from the utility and the consumers to resolve the matter.

If the matter was not resolved then it will be referred to Sindh High Court. “We are thinking about getting representation in the boards of power utility companies,” said Marri.

According to the finance minister, Murad Ali Shah, Water and Power Development Authority even issued an inflated bill of Rs32 billion to the Sindh government. But it was reduced to Rs3.9 billion after the matter was looked into. Shah said that the government had cleared all dues now.

Nuclear Power plants

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission plans to build four more power plants in Sindh by 2030 in order to generate 8,800 megawatts (MWs) of electricity, said Marri during the question and answer session. She said, a 1,000 MW power plant will be built right next to Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP). It will be a seven-year long project and its construction is expected to start from this year. A feasibility report of more nuclear plants was also prepared and one will also be set up in Sukkur.

Power House on Indus River

While replying to a question asked by MQM MPA Heer Ismail Soho, Marri said that the Sindh government made a pact with China for “Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC)” for developing hydro-power Projects. According to her a delegation from Austria, of the Andritz Hydro Power, also visited Sukkur to explore the possibility of setting up a power plant at Sukkur Barrage and Rohri Canal.

Avoid using word Karachi and Sindh

Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro criticised a member of his own party, Dr Ahmed Ali Shah, when he used the word “interior Sindh.” Khuhro suggested that the government issue directives to all departments to avoid using words “Karachi” and “Sindh” as an alternate for urban and rural areas. “There is no “interior” or “exterior” Sindh,” he said, and suggested that the people use “urban” and “rural” areas. The assembly members applauded when he finished.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Aamer Khawaja
    Jan 21, 2012 - 12:40AM

    Whats wrong with division of Sindh?

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  • sohails
    Jan 21, 2012 - 2:10AM

    What’s wrong now with PPP? Why not Sindh divided into two parts at least? Every political party behind the scene is playing game with the people of our country…Recommend

  • Jan 21, 2012 - 4:10AM

    @Aamer Khawaja:
    You give one reason to divide it first!

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  • NA
    Jan 21, 2012 - 4:13AM

    We need at least 20-25 small provinces in the country. Punjab should be divided into at least 8 provinces due to its population size. Sindh, KP into 3. FATA, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan will be a province each. And Balochistan should be divided into atleast 3-4 maybe 5 provinces due to large land mass.

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  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 21, 2012 - 7:11AM

    With all due respect to Dear Mr. Speaker Khuhro, pls remember history, once your uncle Mr.Ayub Khuhro was known as hero of Sindh but when he sided with establishment to support On unit, he lost his respect. Please DONOT oppose MPA’s move, let them pass their say with majority vote. It’d be history and it is needed to send strong democratic signal to Federal Govt that 20th amendment as proposed by MQM is not only against the provincial rights but it would create more fissures in already divided nation of Pakistan.

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  • Azmat
    Jan 21, 2012 - 10:38AM

    @Pakistani Hindu:
    No you give one reason why NOT to divide it first.

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  • zubair
    Jan 21, 2012 - 11:53AM

    good initiative and “bold” stand of Jatoi brothers. I hope all the lawmakers will join the hands on Monday to adopt the resolution in order to foil the conspiracy

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  • shadi
    Jan 21, 2012 - 12:17PM

    @ Pakistani Hindu…Karachi hyderabad combined are populated than the rest of sind…these 2 cities take up most of the funds for sind! if divided…administration can concentrate on other cities in sind that need immediate developing,
    second readon..it wil divide the administration…lets say if the new province which includes karachi and hyderabad isnt doing well…it will be easier for people to know which government is failling to do their job..and elect another one next time around…
    Third reason…Sind needs to develop other cities into major hubs…so that the population can be divided. equally to reduce crime and unemployment

    NONE OF THT CAN BE DONE IF YOU HAVE BIG PROVINCES…LEARN FROM INDIA! THEY DIVIDED PUNJAB…NO ONE OVER THERE STOPPED SPEAKING PUNJABI

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  • Javeed Memon
    Jan 21, 2012 - 1:39PM

    the opposition in Sindh Assembly has come to fore following the protests and demonstrations in Sindh against it. The nationalists in Sindh have started campaign mobilizing the people specially lawmakers not to support the proposed amendment moved by MQM in National Assembly. It is because of the political awareness and role of Sindhi media played for burning issues of Sindh on limelight and forcing the feudal to change their mindset. “I here salute Sindhi Media”

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  • blithe
    Jan 21, 2012 - 3:02PM

    A good move.

    There was supreme hypocrisy in what PM Gilani was saying.
    If he was so hungry for Seriki province, why was he not insisting on seriki-speaking Northern areas of Sindh
    to be carved out too????

    Let’s put this hypocrisy to an end. No breaking of ANY federating unit of Pakistan,

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  • Pakistani
    Jan 21, 2012 - 4:39PM

    Very true Khoroo saieen. There is one Sindh.

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  • shabana
    Jan 21, 2012 - 4:51PM

    Karachi should be a seperate province. Sindh is most poor povince – it should be divided int three provinces for welfare of people.

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  • Ali
    Jan 21, 2012 - 4:55PM

    Divide of Interior and exterior sindh exists. We will accept provinces on the basis of administration – why not sindh

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  • Sunny
    Jan 21, 2012 - 5:34PM

    @Shadi
    Good job. i fully endorse your points.

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  • Kashif Channa
    Jan 21, 2012 - 6:10PM

    I think division of provinces or states should have a thumb rule formula that population of 12 million should have seperate province, by this karachi will be divided in 2 provinces (Malir & Rest of Karachi), Hyderabad and sukkur division shall be other 2.

    As far punjab is concern, 4-5 provinces based strickly on populaption shall be developed.
    Same for KP, 2 pprovinces and balochistan 2 provinces also.

    Total 11-12 provinces to be constructed.

    I don’t know how practical it is, but theoritically there is no problem.

    All politicians wants us to be their slaves so they will never support.Recommend

  • Jan 21, 2012 - 7:55PM

    @Azmat: All provinces are formed on the basis of their historical and linguistic background. Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, NWFP were formed on such basis. Dividing them would surely affect the local people a lot.

    @shadi: administration?? what administration are you talking about? your administration can’t even control Karachi alone, where every day 20 30 people are killed in an unending ethnic violence and you talk about more provinces?? FOR WHAT???
    and then you say we should learn from India??
    Okay.. let’s learn somethings from India.. i) make Pakistan secular.. ii) allow non-muslims to be heads of government and state iii) make your army chief subordinate to PM. iv) allow all sects of muslims to practise their religion freely INCLUDING AHMADIS.!!

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  • omarz
    Jan 21, 2012 - 9:27PM

    If Punjab & KP has to be divided into small provinces then Sindh should be divided too…Actually it should all be started from Karachi Sindh as it is the largest city and should be divided because of administrative reasons & better governance.
    Karachi is the most instable and insecure city of Pakistan it is important to protect the life and property of all the citizens of Pakistan. The Idea to divide Karachi in to manageable four portions along with the Sindh’s underdeveloped territory will create four small provinces providing better Safety, Security, equal opportunity and Economic wellbeing for Sindis and Pakistanis.

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  • Secularist
    Jan 21, 2012 - 11:57PM

    I have read some views and I have to admit some people are really clutching at straws here. Can someone tell me on what basis Sindh should be divided? I can understand Punjab being divided into two provinces because this is a popular and genuine DEMAND which has been raised since many years from the people who actually live in the South Punjab region of Punjab Province. This is due to the fact that continuously billions of rupees (development funds) from the Punjab budget are spent on Takht-e-Lahore rather than being concentrated on the poor and deprived areas of South Punjab. Apart from this demand having a popular support among the masses, the PPP and PML-Q which are 2nd and 3rd largest parties respectively in the Punjab assembly are supporting this cause actively. But what is the justification for the division of Sindh? It is funny that mostly people from other provinces are suggesting for the division of Sindh when there are no such demands from the people of Sindh and neither are there any administrative or empowerment issues in Sindh. There is no crisis of administration and empowerment in Karachi and Hyderabad as they are highly empowered and administered cities of Sindh just like Islamabad and Lahore but there are administrative issues and less empowered areas like Bahawalpur and other regions of South Punjab. The argument of some people is that if Punjab can be divided, so can Sindh, which in my opinion is an extremely flawed argument as the situation in both provinces are completely different as I have just described.

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  • Amjad
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:52AM

    @Secularist: There is a genuine demand by Urdu speaking migrants from India to have a separate province from Sindis in the city of Karachi where they are a majority. A region of over 20 million with a different outlook to Sind and closer ties to India has a right to develop as its own province too.

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