KARACHI: The old commissioner system, Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979 and Police Act 1861 have been restored in Sindh after Acting Sindh Governor Nisar Ahmed Khuhro signed three ordinances separately on Saturday.
The acting governor also made an amendment to the Land Revenue Act 1967 and approved an ordinance after which the commissioner system will be restored in the province. He repealed the Police Order 2002 and restored the Police Act 1861 and signed the ordinance. The Police Order 2002 was passed by Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf without taking the consent of the masses and at that time there was no political party, he said. The government in this regard has decided, in the larger interest of the people, to restore the Police Act 1861.
He has also agreed to restore the Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979. Khuhro said the Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2001 was also introduced by former president Pervez Musharraf without the consent of the people and in this system no amendment could be made without the consent of Musharraf during the last nine years.
He termed this system controversial, saying the government has repealed the same and respected the desire of the people. He also issued an order to revive the old commissioner system and voiced the hope that now people would get their problems resolved.
Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Local Bodies Agha Siraj Durrani while talking to The News, said the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) and its 18 Towns have become “dead” after the promulgation of the Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979.
When asked about the administrative position of Karachi, he said that there would be one commissioner Karachi, five district magistrates and five senior superintendents police. All the deputy commissioners (DCs) will have magisterial powers.
After the restoration of the old system, Sindh will have five divisions — Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur.
Durrani said things were being studied at the moment and the chief minister would decide on the appointment of Karachi’s commissioner.
In a couple of days changes would be visible as the government was studying the situation, he said.
Meanwhile, addressing an emergency press conference at the CM House, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that Local Government Ordinance-2001 has been repealed and it would be replaced by the old Local Bodies Ordinance-1979. He, however, added that actions and decisions taken under the LG system of 2001 would be protected. Shah said it was an old demand of the people of Sindh to restore the old LB system since the new LG system had failed to deliver as it was promulgated by one person.
He said that elected representatives were primarily responsible for enacting legislation in line with the interests of the people and betterment of society. Shah said that the 1979 ordinance was not sacrosanct and if, need be, amendments could be brought in it through the legislature.
He said commissionerate system has also been restored because it had stood the test of time, adding, the people had been familiar with the system of commissioner and deputy commissioners and it had also delivered. After ending this system, no one was willing taking responsibility especially for law and order situation and the whole blame went to the police, he added.
Shah believed that had there been deputy commissioners and magistrates, Rangers would not have shot dead a youth in Clifton recently, as the magistrate holds power in this regard. Besides, he added, the ending of the commissionerate system also caused damage to the revenue system. The commissioners had the powers to decide land cases and hear appeals in this regard but when this system was ended irregularities were committed in land records and thousands of acres of land was illegally occupied because there was no one to protect the state land, he said. In a way, he added, it was also contradictory to the Constitution of 1973.
About Police Ordinance-2002, Qaim Shah said that old police system of British era has been restored, which means that SPs and SHOs would enjoy the powers under the old criminal law. He said Acting Governor Sindh Nisar Ahmed Khuhro promulgated these three ordinances with the consent of the provincial government.
Regarding the restoration of old status of Karachi, the chief minister said that the provincial government could now conduct delimitation of the districts and divisions. He said that the province already had this power but with the promulgation of the ordinances, this has become clearer. Shah said that the original status of Hyderabad would also be restored through the issuance of notifications, adding, the decision would also be taken about the restoration of five defunct districts of Karachi. When he was asked as to why the PPP-led government was doing this after a gap of three years, Qaim Shah said time was ripe now. Regarding MQM ministers’ resignations, Shah said this question should be asked from the acting governor. He said they were still striving to continue the reconciliation process with the MQM and if the talks succeeded the MQM would be most welcome. Shah said that the existing DCOs would be made deputy commissioners.
Later, Minister for Law Mohammed Ayaz Soomro told the media that old divisions have been restored and added that the old status of Hyderabad has also been restored. He hinted that a notification may be issued on Monday to appoint deputy commissioners. He said that not only the five defunct districts of Karachi would be restored but a sixth district of Lyari was also likely to be created. Soomro said that Larkana’s old status would also be restored.
Meanwhile, MQM Founder Altaf Hussain has asked the party coordination committee to convene an emergency meeting to chalk out future line of action regarding old commissioner revived by the government.
A statement issued from London said that he will also hold a all Pakistan workers meeting and inform to the nation himself about its future line of action regarding the old commissioner system.
He paid rich tributes to the victims of Katee Paharee, Orangi Town, Qasba Colony who face the terrorist attacks with courage but the MQM will never leave them alone, he stated.
Meanwhile MQM on Saturday submitted an application for the requisition of sindh assembly session to discuss the worsening law and order situation of Karachi besides the problems being faced by the people all over the province.