HYDERABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is seeking to incorporate the 2001 Local Government (LG) system with the 1979 LG system, which is currently enforced in the province in order to facilitate all the political stakeholders. This was stated by the PPP provincial education minister, Nisar Khuhro, at a press conference on Sunday.
“We may hand-pick some good things out of the system,” he said, although he referred to the 1979 system as a ‘bad memory’ because it was brought in effect by General Ziaul Haq. He asserted that the new law will be an improvement over the 1979 system.
The Supreme Court had ordered all the provinces to make amendments in the LG laws, if necessary, by August 15 and to hold the LG elections by September. Sindh, however, had sought six months time from the court to conduct the polls.
Following the order, the Sindh government claimed that it had written letters to all the political parties in Sindh, including the nationalist parties which had participated in the elections, to seek their recommendations. The PPP government preferred written correspondence over direct dialogue with the stakeholders. Khuhro explained that the latter approach would take longer than the August 15 deadline and that it would be clouded by disagreements.
“We understand that all the parties have a sketch of an LG system in their minds. It should not take them long to draw them in the form of recommendations.”
Notwithstanding the government’s stated positions, the PPP’s political opponents looked at the move with a pinch of salt and were less hopeful to see their suggestions being taken up. The leaders of the three mainstream nationalist parties, Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party and Sindh United Movement, claimed they were yet to receive any letter seeking their recommendations.
In the meantime, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has stolen the march over the PPP by enlisting their former coalition partner’s support for the presidential vote. Yet, the PPP is still looking to mend fences with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as the provincial assembly heads towards constitutional amendments in the local government system.
“Let them [MQM] vote in the [presidential] elections. If we said anything at this stage [about negotiations] their credibility will become controversial. The matters will be taken up after the elections,” said Khuhro.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.