HYDERABAD: The new local government system has been termed the fourth major attack on Sindh’s unity and autonomy since the country gained independence.
“It reminds us of July 1948 when the Sindh Assembly was shifted to Hyderabad and Karachi was separated from Sindh,” said Barrister Zamir Ghumro. The One-Unit system and the local bodies introduced by Pervez Musharraf in 2001 were referred to as the other attacks on the province’s sovereignty.
As the reaction against the ordinance continued for the sixth day, speakers at a conference organised by the Aurat Foundation were of the view that the system reminded them of the past injustices done to the province. The protests led by the opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly and nationalist leaders have been joined in by writers, intellectuals and other civil society members.
The 2012 ordinance has handed over 40 of the 43 portfolios of the provincial government to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, said Ghumro. “Primary education, literacy, health, civil defence, fisheries, culture, excise, housing, transport, law and order, land revenue, energy and others will all be controlled by those who should only be managing drainage, sanitation and cleanliness.”
Section 39 of the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance, 2012, gives authority to the metropolitan corporation of Karachi over district councils on revenue record, environment, zoning, housing and creating markets among others. “[However] the district councils under the four other metropolitan corporations have not been given the same authority,” the lawyer contended.
PML-F’s MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbassi, who vociferously led the protesting members in the Sindh Assembly, slammed the Pakistan Peoples Party for conspiring to divide Sindh. “In the past, attacks on Sindh’s unity came from non-Sindhis. It is for the first time that Sindh’s elected representatives are bent upon dividing their motherland,” the MPA lamented.
MPA Marvi Rashdi alleged that the new system makes the mayor stronger than the chief minister as the latter can be sacked through a majority vote in the assembly but the former will go only after completing his term.
Meanwhile, while nationalist leader Dr Qadir Magsi has set up a hunger strike camp in Qasimabad, Hyderabad, PPP Senator Aajiz Dhamrah warned the nationalists to desist from their mudslinging campaign against the ruling party’s leadership.
Sindhi poets protest
On Saturday, Sindhi writers and poets among others gathered outside the Karachi Press Club to condemn the newly passed ordinance, alleging that it has created a state within the states of the province.
They claimed that the law has created chaos and conflicts in Sindh, adding that the government has destroyed the governance, social and economic sectors in the name of reconciliation.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2012.
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