Thursday February 09, 2023

JI demands early legislation to empower local govts as per Article 140-A

By Our Correspondent
November 26, 2022

Karachi Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has demanded that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in Sindh ensure early legislation to empower the local government setup in Karachi in accordance with the Supreme Court’s orders and Article 140-A of the Constitution.

The JI leader made this demand at a press conference held at the Idara Noor-e-Haq, the JI Karachi headquarters, on Friday. He also demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) remove the political administrator in Karachi installed by the PPP in violation of the election rules and regulations. He added that there was no excuse or logic for the PPP's spokesperson to continue running the office of the Karachi administrator after the announcement of the final date for fresh local government elections in the city.

He said the ECP was responsible for holding peaceful and impartial local government elections, hence, it should remove the political administrator to ensure transparency and level-playing field.

Rehman also called for the ECP to call judicial and federal officers for elections duty in order to ensure impartial and unbiased staffers at the polling stations. The local government polls had already been delayed for two-and-a-half years, he said, adding that PPP government in Sindh postponed the polls thrice to avoid humiliation in the election results.

The PPP regime and its coalition partners in the province were badly afraid of the JI's popularity, Rehman claimed, adding that the PPP had resorted to undemocratic tactics and was planning to manipulate the results with the help of inducting its political workers as polling officials.

The JI leader went on to say that on the one hand, corruption was rampant in the name of development and patchwork under the political administrator belonging to the PPP, and on the other hand, the PPP government was announcing schemes that were not supposed to be materialised as per the past experiences just to fool the voters.

He asked the ECP to take notice of the situation and take appropriate action against the announcement of development schemes when the elections were just around the corner. Demanding the devolution of administrative and financial powers to the local governments, the JI leader said the party would continue the struggle for empowerment of the local bodies.

He recalled that the JI had held a 29-day-long sit-in outside the Sindh Assembly, forcing the PPP government in Sindh to shift administrative and monetary powers to the setup under the Article 140-A of the Constitution.

The sit-in ended after an agreement was reached between the JI and PPP, he said, adding that later conspiracies were once again hatched up against the local government setup when the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan joined hands with the PPP.

Lambasted the PPP government over what he said rampant corruption and mismanagement in the province, Rehman stated that the Sindh government spent billions of rupees and six long years to partially construct just a 3.8-kilometre-long Orange Line track.

He added that the federal government’s Green Line project was also cut short instead of bringing it to its designated end. Against this backdrop, he said, the Sindh government had initiated the Red Line project that was supposed to provide conveyance to just around 25,000 people on a daily basis despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people travelled on University Road where the project was being constructed.

He said that the Red Line project was not a mass-transit programme but a mass corruption programme. Rehman said Karachi needed at least 15,000 busses to address the transport issue of its citizens but only 130 buses had been brought in the last 15 years and a significant number of them were later put off track due to faults or sent to other cities.

JI leaders Raja Arif Sultan, Saleem Azhar, Munim Zafar, Zahid Askari, Imran Shahid and others accompanied the Karachi JI chief at the press conference.