ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party has decided to table in the Sindh Assembly a bill seeking to replace the local bodies with the commissionerate system if the Muttahida Qaumi Movement does not return to the ruling coalition.
“We will definitely move the bill if the MQM does not review its decision of parting ways with the government,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Monday.
The move to change the local government system is being cited as one of the reasons behind the PPP-MQM breach. At a meeting with Muttahida representatives in Karachi three days ago, PPP leaders had said that they would not move the bill if the MQM agreed to rejoin the federal government. The LG system was introduced by former president Pervez Musharraf.
The commissionerate system bill was scheduled to be tabled in the provincial assembly on Jan 7, but the MQM objected to it, saying that there should be no change in the LG system.
The three other provinces have already wrapped up the local bodies system. Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have so far not come up with new local government acts, while the one passed by the Balochistan Assembly is said to be flawed and contrary to the Constitution. After the expiry of the Local Government Ordinance 2001, the provinces have been empowered to deal with the matter on their own.
Analysts are of the opinion that the future of the LG system is hanging in the balance because political interests and rifts have made it difficult for the provinces to work out their own system.
The fate of the system is in the doldrums because drafts being prepared by the provinces have no uniformity.
The 18th Amendment has authorised the Election Commissioner of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct the local government elections, but the provinces have demanded that these should be held by the provincial commissioners.
The ECP is yet to announce schedule for the LG polls.
Legal experts were of the opinion that Chief Election Commissioner Justice Hamid Ali Mirza could not conduct elections without completion of the ECP, which required appointment of four retired judges of the high courts.
But a spokesman for the ECP claimed that the CEC could conduct elections even under the 18th Amendment.
Under the new constitutional amendment, the process of supervising and holding elections is not a responsibility of the CEC, but the ECP which comprises the CEC and four other members.