KARACHI: The core committees of ruling coalition partners the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) met at Chief Minister House on Tuesday evening to evolve a consensus on the new local government system to implement in Karachi.
The committee reviewed proposals drafted by both parties before deciding on continuing the matter in another meeting on July 12.
Sources privy to the development said that the meeting had been held on the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari who recently met with MQM supremo Altaf Hussain in London.
Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali, Federal Minister Khurhseed Shah and Sindh Local Minister Agha Siraj Durrani represented PPP in the talks. Deputy convener of MQM's Rabita Committee Senator Farooq Sattar, Wasay Jalil and Kanwar Naveed Jameel represented the MQM in the meeting.
Sources added that during the recent meeting between MQM leaders Altaf Hussain and President Asif Ali Zardari in London, the former had stressed the need to hold the local government elections without any further delay. Zardari had reportedly assured the MQM leader that the government will consider the option of holding local body elections before the next general elections. “Government can decide to delay general election for a while, if local government elections are held this year,” a senior PPP leader said.
The local body elections have been a sticking point between the two allies who share coalitions in the federal as well as the provincial governments. MQM, feeling hurt by the lack of seriousness displayed by their partners over the local body elections, have on a number of occasions opted out of the coalition, only to be coaxed back in with promises.
The scenario this time has an additional player, the Supreme Court, which too has sought the schedule of the election from the provincial government. However, the apex court observed that since voters list have not been prepared, it was not possible to hold the polls early.
The deadlock has persisted between the two coalition partners for the past two years twith a consensus nowhere in sight. The PPP has pushed for the old Commissioner system introduced by General Zia ul Haq in 1979, while the MQM has called for continuing the 2001 local government system promulgated by General Musharraf under which the MQM brought four years of unbridiled development in the megalopolis.
Government officials seemed to have settled on a new “hybrid” system which borrows from the previous systems. Once the finer details are ironed out, officials believe it would not take long to implement the new system.
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