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Sunday, August 7, 2011

PPP decision irks ANP and Sindhi nationalists

KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party’s decision to restore local government system in Karachi and Hyderabad to please MQM has irked its ally, the Awami National Party (ANP) and nationalists of Sindh.

Governor Sindh, Dr Ishratul Ibad Sunday promulgated an ordinance restoring the local bodies system in two cities of the province, a decision PPP made after talks with its ally, MQM following hectic consultations first in Islamabad and then at the Governor’s House in Karachi.

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.

The Muttahida is not willing to let anyone eat into its power base in Karachi and Hyderabad 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.

The decision drew criticism from Sindhi nationalist parties and the ANP on the grounds that such a decision would lay the foundation of partition of Sindh which no one could accept.

The ANP said restoration of the old system of Nazims would amount to a conspiracy against the people of Sindh, and that it’s a plan to create a separate province for Mohajirs.

“The decision seems to be taken on ethnic basis, we refuse and condemn it,” ANP Sindh President, Shahi Syed, expressed reservations while talking to media men in Karachi.

He said the ‘over the night’ decision to restore the LG system is a ‘conspiracy’ and an attack on the rights of people of Sindh, adding that ANP was not consulted on the move.

He announced that his party has stopped provincial Labour Minister, Amir Nawab Khan, from performing the govt duties in protest against the move.

On the other hand, workers of Sindhi nationalist parties staged protest demonstrations in Karachi and other cities of Sindhi, condemning the decision as a bid to divide the province into rural and urban partitions.

Dr Safdar Sarki, Chairman Jeay Sindh Tehreek, announced that shutter down strike would be observed in Sindh on Monday against the PPP decision.

Also, Awami Tehrik’s central leader, Ayaz Latif Palijo condemned the move and announced protest across the Sindh against what he called a move to ‘sell out’ the province.

Jamat-e-Islami, too, denounced the restoration of LG system on the demand of MQM.

“The rural-urban divide is against wills of the masses,” JI Karachi Amir, Muhammad Hussain Mehnati said in a statement, adding that ‘‘the unjust distribution of LG system is not acceptable’’.

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