The provincial assembly on Saturday approved the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amid clamour from the Opposition benches to reject the bill.
The bill, which was moved by Sindh Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, was moved for the second time by the Sindh government. The first version, passed last month, was rejected by Governor Imran Ismail, who has to give his assent for any law to become an act.
The governor had sent the Local Government (Amendment) Bill back to the assembly, asking it to reconsider at least nine points he raised.
But on Saturday, the PPP-led treasury benches rejected the amendments proposed by the governor to the original bill. In reaction, the Opposition parties - including PTI, MQM, GDA - protested against the Treasury in front of the Speaker’s desk over its passage. They also approached the speaker's dias and tore the copies of the agenda.
Opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh termed the bill a “black law”. The opposition earlier had claimed that the new bill was an attempt to deprive the city of its rights.
Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani advised the lawmakers to leave the House if they wanted to continue with such behaviour.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, while addressing the Hosue, remarked: “It is unfortunate that this province has an illiterate opposition that cannot even execute a work if it wants to. And similarly, we have an ignorant and illiterate government at the Centre.”
He further said that Pakistan Peoples Party wanted to re-introduce the system of towns in Sindh’s urban areas, saying that district commissioners and administrators are running Sindh’s cities and towns who are not elected democratically in a local government election.
Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Scores of powers, functions and departments of the local government system were allowed to the Sindh government. The term of local government will be four years from the day of oath.
It replaced the District Council with a new Municipal Corporation, as population of a municipal town will be up to 125,000. None of the rural part will be in the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Corporation.
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The legislation also abolished the districts in the proposed Metropolitan Corporation and brought in town system. The election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s will be made through secret balloting instead of show of hands.
All those hospitals run by the KMC including: Karachi Medical and Dental College; Abbasi Shaheed Hospital; Rafiqui Shaheed Hospital; Sobhraj Hospital and Leprosy Center; will now be handed over to the Sindh government.
The KMC will no longer be able to make birth and death certificates; and run infection disease department. However, public toilets will still remain under the KMC administration.