PTI leader slams JI-Sindh government deal – Pakistan

KARACHI: The leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Haleem Adil Sheikh, on Sunday rejected the agreement between the Sindh government and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), saying it does not address all genuine concerns and fundamental problems of the local system of government address in the province .

Haleem Adil Sheikh, speaking at a press conference at the Sindh Assembly Building along with MPA Arslan Taj Ghumman, PTI leaders Q Muhammad Hakim, Haji Muzafar Shujrah, Ali Palh and others, said that the dubious agreement on local government law was a misleading tactic by both parties to fool the public.

Without addressing the real issues and limitations of local government autonomy, they came up with old wine in new bottles, he noted.

The Sindh Local Government Act 2013 violates Articles 7, 32 and 140-A of the Constitution and violates the true spirit of grassroots powers and the administrative, financial and political autonomy of local governments, he said, adding that PTI von der first day opposed the black law and also challenged it in top courts.

Haleem Adil Sheikh said that Jamaat-e-Islami presents the deal with the government as a great achievement, but the dubious deal offers nothing new as the party, which protested for four weeks before the Sindh Assembly, was satisfied with provisions who were already part of the black LG law and they completely neglected the real concerns.

Either JI was outwitted by the PPP Sindh government or both were trying to lure the masses into their political ends, he claimed, observing that the government resorted to violence and torture if anyone protested outside the assembly building, but JI’s protest overlooked, even buffalo were tethered there.

No fewer than 21 sections and various plans of the SLGA 2013 also contradicted the preamble to the law, he noted, adding that the law entrusted real authority to CM Sindh, Minister for Local Government and Secretary of the LG Department, who could do so Control and exercise absolute authority over the entire local governance structure in Sindh.

He said that SLGA 2013 sections 74 and 76 render a mayor or local government chairperson powerless and make the CM omnipotent, while the provincial government could exercise control over the LG bodies under sections 87 and 88, while some other sections empower the province to steer financial affairs local councils.

A local government cannot reach an agreement without the prior approval of the provincial government, while elected local councils can also be suspended and suppressed under the current LG law, adding that the province can intervene on issues of taxation and levies, recruitment and drafting rules and to draw up development plans for how these LG bodies could be called independent.

PPP brought a dual system to Sindh that would bring people from different areas into direct confrontation, Haleem claimed, saying that changing the status of the adjacent rural areas of the two major cities of Karachi and Hyderabad would reduce opportunities for the underdeveloped areas, while the process for the election of the mayor and deputy mayor would end in corruption, horse-dealing and transgression.

Haleem pointed out that a number of basic functions and responsibilities of local government, including health, education, price control and job creation, would either be rolled back or curtailed, while an unclear definition of the powers and functions of city or local government companies and their lower local governments to do so would lead to confusion, indiscipline and ineffectiveness on the part of LG bodies.

All levels of local government are dependent on the provincial government for administrative and financial matters, while leaving a little room for better performance and service delivery, while the provincial government has ultimate control in the provincial finance commission and local government commission, Haleem Adil said.

The agreement also called for the Sindh government to take up with the federal government the issue of drinking water supply for the Karachiites, but the fact was that the important K-IV project had been on hold for almost 12 years due to inefficiency and negligence of the Sindh PPP government the doldrums lay spending in excess of Rs. 12 billion and now, when Imran Khan led the PTI government, he took over the project and made significant progress on it JI made unnecessary color and fuss, he said.

PTI member Arslan Taj Ghumman, a member of the Sindh Assembly, said on the occasion that an agreement was struck in the dark of the night that gave Chief Minister Sindh authoritarian control over the province’s local governments.

He said that Jamaat-e-Islami has compromised the rights of the people of Sindh. PTI did not accept the SLGA 2013 nor this agreement, which was the result of a fixed game and did not consist of a single provision that could strengthen the LG system, he said, adding it had been agreed that the mayor would be a member of the building control board by Sindh and the Water Board but his powers and role were not mentioned.

Arslan Taj said that PTI had passed a resolution on the Provincial Commission from the Sindh Assembly, but it is still awaiting implementation despite the lapse of two years.

PTI leader Q Muhammad Hakim briefed the media on various sections of SLGA 2013 that undermined the administrative, financial and political authority of the local government system in Sindh.

He said that the law’s preamble provides for the delegation of powers to the grassroots level, but most of the law invalidates even its preamble.

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