HYDERABAD: The Sindhi Writers and Thinkers Forum has said that it will start a campaign to get political parties to include its demands in their manifestos.
At a press conference on Sunday, Jami Chandio, who heads an advocacy group called Centre for Peace and Civil Society, said, “The manifestos of parties in Sindh are still very vague. We want unequivocal manifestos so that we can question parties if they deviate from them.” The forum was formed last November in reaction to the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012. It supported political parties such as Pakistan Muslim League-Functional and nationalist groups who voiced anger at the new system. “Not many would have voted for Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) [in the 2008 elections] if it had told them [through its manifesto] that it would try to impose this dual system in the province,” claimed Chandio.
The forum’s members now want political parties to specify in their manifestos that Sindh will remain united and the province will have control over its own resources. Zulfiqar Halepoto of the Sindh Democratic Forum said, “We are not opposed to a local government system, but we cannot and will not accept systems which discriminate between big and small cities or encroach upon the provincial government’s authority.” He added that on March 9, the forum will announce an elaborate charter of demands. “All political parties having mandate in Sindh and who claim to be loyal to the province will have to sign the charter,” said Chandio, adding that they will distribute thousands of copies of the charter throughout the province.
The forum has also asked PPP to apologise to people for supporting SPLGA 2012 and passing it in the Sindh Assembly.
The Sindh Bachayo Committee has given a call to celebrate on February 27 the abrogation of the SPLGA. The forum, PML-F, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, National Peoples Party have announced that they will participate.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2013.