Tuesday January 25, 2022

Sindh PA passes LG (Amend) bill: KMDC, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital to be transferred to Sindh government

November 27, 2021
Sindh PA passes LG (Amend) bill: KMDC, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital to be transferred to Sindh government

KARACHI: Unfazed by an uproar and sloganeering stirred by the opposition, the legislators from the government managed to bulldoze the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill-2021 in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday. The bill paves the way for new municipal elections in the province next year. The opposition members raised slogans and tore the copies of the agenda before walking out of the assembly when the house gave clause-by-clause approval to the bill. The opposition legislators claimed that they had not been given copies of the bill in advance to go through its contents.

The most significant change introduced in the amendment bill was to replace districts status with towns in metropolitan corporations of the province, including Karachi. As per the amendment bill, the population of each town will hover around 0.5 million to 0.75 million people.

Karachi Medical and Dental College and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital would be transferred to the Sindh government as envisaged in the new amendment law. In addition, the municipal agencies will no more supervise primary healthcare centres in the province.

Speaking to the house, Sindh Local Government Minister, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, said the new bill incorporated the suggestions from the opposition’s parliamentarians to improve the existing local government system that he had already received. In view of the loud protest in the house, the local government minister suggested that if the opposition were not ready to update and improve the local government act of the province, the municipal elections could be held under the existing laws. He added the new amendment bill shouldn’t be considered like a holy scripture, in which amendments couldn’t be incorporated after its passage by the assembly.

He claimed that the house had unanimously passed the bill as the opposition had opted to stay away from the proceedings during its passage. The local government minister said the opposition lawmakers did not move the amendments they had earlier submitted for improvement of the amendment bill. He said the new amendment bill envisages strengthening of the municipal agencies in the province.

The house also approved the Sindh Telemedicine and Tele-health Bill-2021. Later, the opposition legislators from PTI, MQM, and GDA in the Sindh Assembly met Sindh Governor Imran Ismail at the Governor's House to convey their reservations and grievances with regard to the newly-passed Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill-2021.

The opposition MPAs informed the governor that the ruling party had not taken into account the due constitutional, democratic, and parliamentary norms while unilaterally passing the new local government amendment bill.

They alleged that the new amendment bill was aimed at withdrawing whatever powers and authority had been left with the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation so to pass on the same powers to the Sindh government.

The opposition MPAs said the newly-passed amendment law didn’t at all conform to the Article 140-A of the Constitution aimed at empowerment of the local government system in the country. They said that the amendments and suggestions earlier submitted by them to improve the new amendment law had not been considered by the treasury benches in the house.

The Sindh governor assured them to play his due constitutional role regarding the newly-passed amendment local government law.

Earlier, talking to journalists at the Sindh Assembly building, the opposition MPAs announced to move the court against the passage of new local government amendment bill, which according to them had been passed by the house through backdoor means.

The opposition lawmakers said the house had passed the new amendment law with haste while negating all the due parliamentary and constitutional traditions. They said the draft of the bill should earlier have been referred to the relevant standing committee of the house for due consideration and improvements before presenting it in the assembly for passage.