Though the two political parties are yet to reach a consensus on a number of issues, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) are hoping to finalise the draft new local government system for Sindh by the end of Ramazan.
The new system is said to be an amalgamation of the system in place in 1979 and the one in place during Musharraf’s regime in 2001. The bigger cities will have mayors, while the smaller ones will have chairmen instead of nazims.
“We have successfully removed our differences on many contentious clauses. The new draft will hopefully be ready by the end of Ramazan,” MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil, who is also a member of the committee working on the local government system, told The Express Tribune.
MQM favours a local bodies system very similar to the one in place in 2001, while PPP wants a system where commissioners have an equal say and enjoy substantial powers. Though both parties have agreed to replace nazims with mayors in bigger cities, they are yet to resolve differences on the electoral process of mayors.
Leaders of the two parties have held a series of meetings during the past few weeks in an effort to reach a consensus, but are still a long way from finalising a deal, sources said.
After Musharraf’s local government system was done away with in 2009, no other system was put in place. Earlier, top government functionaries including the president kept giving assurances of holding local bodies’ elections in an effort to appease MQM, but no concrete steps were taken.
Both PPP and MQM have come up with their own drafts for the system. A source privy to developments said they have now entered into “serious” negotiations and are likely to agree on one reworked draft.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.