Older times: MQM rejects 1979 local bodies system, calls the move ‘undemocratic’

Published: July 3, 2013
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Members of the MQM rabita committee address the press conference on Tuesday. PHOTO: MQM

Members of the MQM rabita committee address the press conference on Tuesday. PHOTO: MQM

KARACHI: Rejecting the 1979 local bodies system implemented by the Sindh government, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement demanded the system that was in place during Musharraf’s era.

The members of the party’s Rabita Committee held a press briefing on Tuesday to condemn the new system. MQM member Kunwar Naveed Jamil called this move by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) undemocratic and unjust. “The Sindh government has snatched the rights of the people,” he said. “The PPP has shown its feudal side as it does not want the issues of the common people to be addressed.”

Jamil pointed out that in the previous government’s regime, a clause was added in article 140 of the Constitution, which said that each province shall by law establish a local government system and devolve its political, financial and administrative responsibilities to it. By enforcing the 1979 system, the government has, however, made a mockery of the constitution, he added.

The political powers of the local bodies have been curtailed since the municipal councils will have to seek the approval of the commissioner for everything, he explained.

Under the new system, the provincial financial commission – which was responsible for handling the finances of institutions, schools, playgrounds, hospitals and clinics belonging to the local government – will stop functioning and the money will now go to the Sindh government, he added. Reverting to the old systems means that local government institutions have no administrative rights or money, which has turned cities across Sindh into garbage dumps, he said.

Colonial roots

The party which has been critical of the UK since its chief Altaf Hussain admitted to raids by the Scotland Yard, attacked the country once again during the press conference.  The local bodies system of 1979 was, in fact, introduced by the British in their colonies in the sub-continent in a bid to make the locals their slaves, Jamil told the media.

Even though the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz had its differences with General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, it stuck to the local government system of 2001 in the Punjab since it realised it is a good system, Jamil pointed out. The MQM will raise this issue in the parliament and take legal action, if needed, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2013.

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