HYDERABAD/ KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has reached out to opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly in a bid to form an alliance against amendments in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 and delimitation of constituencies in the city.
“The MQM wants all parties to join hands against the conspiracies of the Pakistan Peoples Party,” the party’s parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, Syed Sardar Ahmed told The Express Tribune. He stressed that they wanted the amendments to be taken back.
Parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional have so far backed the MQM and even filed a requisition with them on Tuesday to call for a session of the Sindh Assembly where the ordinances would be brought under discussion.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has distanced itself from the coalitions and has snubbed the MQM’s invitation. PTI MPA Syed Hafeezuddin alleged that the MQM was simply fooling the public by their drama and actually wanted the amendments in the act. “MQM’s non-serious attitude can be gauged by its half-hearted protests against the act,” he alleged. “Also, why is it that the amendments are only promulgated whenever the governor is out of the country? The MQM is just pretending to be against the ordinance. In reality, however, they support it.”
The PTI leader said that they will opt for a different route and were deciding to challenge the amendments in court. He accused the MQM and PPP for trying to postpone the elections and not wanting them to take place at all.
On the other hand, MQM’s deputy convener, Nasir Jamal, said their strong reservations over the amendments had nothing to do with the election schedule. “We don’t want the polls to be postponed,” he stressed. He said that the legislation was supposed to empower people but the PPP was manoeuvring it according to their own needs.
Also opposing the ordinances, PML-N leader Saleem Zia lashed out at the PPP. “The PPP is afraid that the PML-N will emerge victorious in the local bodies elections and is therefore passing such amendments.” He termed the ordinance a scheme of dictatorial governance and said they would not accept it.
Protests in Hyderabad
Meanwhile, thousands of workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement took to the streets in Hyderabad on Tuesday to protest against the amendments. “It’s a conspiracy to divide the urban and rural people of Sindh,” alleged MQM’s Rabita Committee member, Ashfaq Mangi, in his address to protesters outside the press club.
“The way the PPP leaders are trying to divide Qasimabad from Hyderabad is just another proof of their motives,” said Mangi. He was referring to the establishment of a separate municipal administration system for Qasimabad and the recent efforts of provincial minister, Jam Khan Shoro, to carve out a new district from Hyderabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2013.
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