KARACHI: Opposition parties in the provincial assembly have submitted a requisition to summon a Sindh Assembly session to discuss the recent amendments made to the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.
More than 42 lawmakers of various political parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Jam Madad Ali, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Irfanullah Marwat and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Syed Sardar Ahmed, reached the office of the Sindh Assembly secretary and submitted the requisition on Tuesday. Speaking to the media later, they termed the local government ordinance promulgated by the governor as a “black law” and demanded a debate on this issue inside the assembly.
The government cannot give the ordinance the status of a law, claimed MQM’s Ahmed. “We have serious reservations over the recent amendments to this Act. The opposition parties also have a mandate and the government should hear their grievances and resolve them,” he said, adding that in the presence of the provincial assembly, there was no need to make the law through the ordinances in haste.
Khawaja Izaharul Hasan, deputy parliamentary leader of the MQM, said the Pakistan Peoples Party had made the amendments to rig the local government elections. “The PPP is not the only representative political party of Sindh but other major stakeholders exist in the province whom the provincial government wants to crush through its power,” he alleged.
PML-F’s Ali, who had served as a provincial minister in the outgoing cabinet of Qaim Ali Shah, also criticised the government’s alleged intentions to rig the polls. He drew the attention of the media towards other controversial ordinances issued by the Sindh government. There has been a hue and cry in the entire province against the amendments to this law, which will force candidates to contest the election through panels. Besides, the deputy commissioners have been given full authority to make changes to the constituencies, he added. “This means the incumbent government wants to draw the constituencies to suit its own interest by converting political rivals into a minority,” he said.
Marwat said that not only the ordinance, but the rules have also been changed unilaterally. “We will challenge it in the courts because our party wants to hold free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon assured the opposition parties that they will summon the assembly session soon. “An ordinance is a law issued when the assembly is not in session. Later, it is moved in the assembly to get it passed,” he explained. “The MQM, being our former coalition partner, had always supported a number of ordinances, including the local government ordinance in 2012.” Now, they are just making a fuss, he said, adding the new local government law had been made with the majority of the votes.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2013.
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