KARACHI: Barring minor differences that might arise during the course of talks, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was all set to rejoin the coalition led by the Pakistan People’s Party on Saturday night after hectic consultations first in Islamabad and then at the Governor’s House in Karachi.
In late night development, the commissioner system in
Karachi and was rolled back and the old status of the districts prior to the introduction of the commissioner system was restored. In this context two ordinances were issued. Announcing details of the agreements reached at the Governor’s House in the presence of Governor Ibad and Chief Minister Shah, Mr Awan unfolded the decisions. Hyderabad
Accordingly it was decided that
Karachi and districts will be excluded from the application of the Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2011. It was also agreed that the police act revived recently should continue. The two parties with the MQM represented by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and the PPP by former law minister Babar Awan and Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah thrashed out a formula for the rural and urban areas of the province. Hyderabad
At times marred by differences, the talks at the Governor’s House were a follow-up to a meeting held in
between Dr Ibad and PPP’s troubleshooter and former law minister Babar Awan earlier in the day to sort out differences between the two parties. Mr Ibad flew to Islamabad on Friday to hold a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in which the trade-offs for an accommodation were discussed. Mr Awan flew to Islamabad along with Governor Ibad after their meeting. The meeting was aimed at finalising a legal draft for accommodating MQM’s demand for the restoration of district governments in Karachi Karachi and . But before making it public, concurrence of President Zardari and MQM chief Altaf Hussain in Hyderabad was being sought. Television channels reported that Dr Ibad had a late-night conversation with Mr Hussain over the phone during which the MQM chief was briefed on the final shape of the ordinance being drafted to restore the local government system. London
The governor had yet to sign the ordinance by the time we went to press. As the talks continued at the Governor’s House, provincial ministers like Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani and Revenue Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dhar joined the participants of the meeting. Top bureaucrats like the
commissioner and the law secretary also attended the meeting. The Muttahida is not willing to let anyone eat into its power base in Karachi Karachi and and has taken a hard line against the government’s move to revive the commissioner system in Sindh. It has opposed the termination of city district governments established under the Sindh Local Government Ordinance of 2001. Hyderabad
The Muttahida said that although it was against the commissioner system, it would suggest making it akin to the SLGO through amendments. At a recent high-level meeting, the Sindh chief minister had hinted at accommodating the MQM’s demand, but made it clear that any amendment to the Local Government Law of 1979 would not lead to restoration of city district governments. The major headache for the government is that it cannot afford to have two systems of the third-tier of government because it will institutionalize the rural-urban divide.
The PPP will find it hard to make the arrangement palatable to its supporters in the interior of Sindh. A number of PPP leaders and activists were of the view that such a decision would lay the foundation of partition of Sindh which no one could accept. Meanwhile, the Awami National Party’s Sindh chapter has opposed the reported move for a separate local government system for
Karachi and and termed it depriving the people of the province of their rights. Hyderabad
The ANP said that restoration of the old system of Nazims would amount to a conspiracy against the people of Sindh. However, it welcomed the inclusion of Shaheed Benazirabad district in
division and supported the call for creating a separate district for Lyari. Hyderabad
Iftikhar A. Khan adds from
Islamabad: The meeting between Dr Ibad and Mr Awan agreed to stop trading charges against each other, create political harmony and jointly work for peace in . Sources told Dawn that the two sides had discussed a new local government law for Karachi Karachi and , adding that the PPP had softened its stance on the local government system in Sindh. The commissioner system was revived in Hyderabad after the MQM parted ways with the government. The move evoked a strong reaction from the MQM which described its revival as a conspiracy to divide Urdu- and Sindhi-speaking people of the province. Karachi
The sources said the PPP was against the revival of the old local government system, but had shown flexibility on the issue and efforts were on to find a middle path. They said the proposed draft law was ready and its legal aspects were being discussed now, adding that the law would initially apply in
Karachi and . The sources said the two sides had agreed on an across-the-board action against criminal elements to ensure peace in violence-hit Hyderabad . Talking to reporters after the meeting, Governor Ibad said that political and administrative steps would be taken for harmony and stability in Karachi and the rest of the country. Karachi
He said the country was suffering because of political turbulence and steps would be taken to protect the country and its institutions. He was of the opinion that criminal elements were taking advantage of political differences to destabilise
. Mr Awan said President Zardari and MQM chief Altaf Hussain were working to strengthen democratic institutions and dialogue would be initiated to stop the blame game. All issues would be tackled with sincerity and the path of dialogue would be followed to move forward. Karachi
The PPP leader said the issue of return of the MQM to the government fold was not discussed. The meeting focussed on political and administrative matters. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called PML (Functional) chief Pir Pagara on Saturday and apprised him of the ongoing negotiations between the government and the MQM. The prime minister said the government would pursue its policy of reconciliation to protect democracy. He said the MQM had been a government’s ally and supported it on several important occasions, especially during the passage of the 18th Amendment.