KARACHI: Amid scenes of utter chaos, vocal protests, brawl by the Opposition and the Treasury benches that precipitated in scuffles between the legislators belonging to both sides of the aisle, the Sindh Assembly on Saturday again passed the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill-2021 after incorporating some more changes in the law that governs the municipal agencies of the province.
The house once again considered the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill after the Sindh Governor Imran Ismail returned it without his assent after giving his observations on certain clauses.
The Opposition lawmakers gathered near the rostrum of the Speaker Sindh Assembly, Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, to register protest against the amendment bill. They also displayed posters inside the house carrying slogans against the Sindh government. They also raised slogans against the Sindh government’s move to further amend the local government system.
Ugly scenes were witnessed during the session as scuffles broke out between the Opposition and treasury legislators who literally wrestled with each other during the agitation. The brawl created chaos and disrupted proceedings of the house. The Opposition legislators didn’t pay heed to the calls of the Speaker and Sindh Parliamentary Affairs’ Minister, Mukhesh Kumar Chawla, to maintain decorum in the house. The Opposition legislators tore the copies of the bill and later walked out of the house during passage of the proposed amendment law. Some of the Opposition MPAs hurled paper balls and copies of bill towards the speaker’s rostrum.
Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah moved the provincial Local Government amendment bill for consideration by the house. He narrated the aims and objectives of the amendment bill amidst the defeaning agitation by the Opposition lawmakers. The Speaker invited the two Opposition legislators of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Arsalan Taj and Sidra Imran, who had submitted their amendments to the bill to speak about it, but both were more busy in the agitation.
While informing the salient features of the local government amendment bill, the Sindh Local Government Minister said the election for the heads of the municipal agencies would be conducted through open ballot. He said the elected local government leaders were empowered to have a say in the policing affairs of the area. He said the area police would present a report on the law and order-related issues in the relevant local government council whereas the SSP would be under the obligation to remain in contact with the local government chairman.
He said similarly reports related to primary and secondary schools, basic health units, sports, differently abled persons, Livestock, and Agriculture Departments of the Sindh government would also be presented in the local councils. He said the municipal agencies of the province were empowered to monitor nine different provincial government’s departments. He said that one per cent seats in every local council had also been reserved each for members of the transgender community and special persons.
While addressing the house during passage of the amendment bill, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah lamented the situation that he had to face an “Illiterate” Opposition in the house that had no understanding of the Constitution and the law. He said the Opposition in the house is in the habit of the creating fuss during the sessions which was also witnessed when the assembly passed the local government amendment bill, which according to him reflected the public’s aspirations.
The CM said he was saddened that the Opposition unduly resorted to agitation in the house. He also lamented that the Opposition was doing ethnic politics while agitating over the local government system. “You should consider us a part of Pakistan and don’t let us think about anything else,” he further asked the Opposition MPAs.
Murad Shah said the Pakistan People’s Party has majority in the house and it was utterly wrong to say that the Sindh Assembly was under someone’s undue occupation. “Are you the ones who want to come from Islamabad to occupy (the assembly),” said the CM while addressing the Opposition lawmakers of PTI in an emotional manner. “You should duly consider us a part of Pakistan and don’t let us think about anything else,” he further asked the Opposition MPAs.
The CM said the majority party in the Sindh Assembly had the right to make decisions as the Opposition was in minority as would remain a minority in the province in the future as well. He said the People’s Party since its inception was securing the mandate of people of Sindh as it had improved its tally of votes in every general elections. He advised the Opposition to show affinity for Sindh as without affiliating with the people of the province they would continue to be rejected.
The CM said the Sindh government had revived the town system in the cities of Sindh in accordance with the demand of the Opposition. He said the municipal agencies were devolved the authority monitor the public sector hospitals in the province. He mentioned that people in the country had to face hunger due to natural gas crisis while there was also unprecedented hike in the prices of essential products, all due to incompetence on the part of the present rulers.