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Thursday, October 25, 2012

'Bantustanaisation' of Sindh — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The 18th Amendment had ostentatiously devolved powers to the provinces but the First Schedule of the new ordinance reintroduces a hybrid concurrent list in Sindh

I never thought that Sindh, the land of the legendary Makhdoom Bilawal who preferred pulverisation by the Arghun ruler’s oil seed grinder to submission in 1523 AD (929 AH); where on February 17, 1843 in Miani, 6,000 plus martys, including Mir Jan Mohammad Talpur who was buried there as his wounds made shifting impossible, would see this day when it would capitulate to selfishness and abandon the rights of Sindhis just to retain their privileges. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has done just that by passing the Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance 2012 in an indecent haste.

The perfidious ordinance sounds the death knell for Sindhis’ rights by giving the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) the unchallenged right to rule urban Sindh and confines Sindhis to rural areas. The ordinance is unadulterated mischief because only the First Schedule has been published yet, and it is mischief personified, while all other schedules still under wraps must certainly carry more trouble and harm. The people of Sindh are resisting this perfidy but it seems the PPP government and party is bent upon inflicting this deadly wound on Sindh, bartering away its destiny.

This skewed ordinance weakens the already emasculated provincial government by creating the Metropolitan Corporation with Mayoral office, which in many respects is more powerful than the chief minister and his ministries. That would thus create a diarchy but not a simple diarchy for as per the ordinance, the urban local government has untrammelled powers in cities where the gerrymandered constituencies and bogus elections ensure that the MQM has the sole right to rule while the rural areas where decrepit governance prevails, languish.

Under this ordinance, the mayor with unbridled powers heads the Metropolitan Corporation with its separate bureaucracy under a Chief Officer, chosen or requisitioned by him. His autonomy from the provincial government in matters of administration, planning, allocation, taxation, supervision, audit, budgeting, works, communication, environment, transport, works, execution, inspection, enforcement, etc, will create a parallel power centre. He enjoys some magisterial powers plus Section 144 CRPC. His removal requires a two-thirds majority; the mover/seconder loses his seat if the motion fails. Even if he is prima facie guilty of transgressing laws, the chief minister cannot remove him but refers to the Provincial Local Government Commission with a 90-day inquiry deadline. A mayoral autocracy will thrive in the name of democracy.

The NFC Award, supposedly the guarantor of fiscal independence, has been nullified by this ordinance. Its section 124 establishes a Provincial Finance Commission, headed by the provincial finance minister and ‘shall comprise of such other members as may be prescribed, and would recommend the distribution of funds between the provincial and local governments on the basis of such vague, subjective and potentially contentious principles as “fiscal need, fiscal capacity, fiscal effort and performance.” The finance portfolio will not be difficult for the MQM to pry away from the spineless PPP government. It ensures perpetual deprivation for Sindhis and hostility along the ethnic fault lines.

The 18th Amendment had ostentatiously devolved powers to the provinces but the First Schedule of the new ordinance reintroduces a hybrid concurrent list in Sindh. That will allow the metropolitan areas, particularly Karachi and Hyderabad, to exercise almost the same range of powers and functions as are enjoyed by the provincial government, thus accentuating the urban-rural divide for all intents and purposes. This means that the urban centres will be ruled at the whim of the MQM muscled in by bogus elections. Under an unfettered MQM rule, they will become increasingly active and dangerous.

The warped ordinance will allow the MQM to forge laws and create conditions that will exclude people of other ethnicities from all political and economic benefits and force them into ghettoes in the cities it will control. The rural areas as it is receive only crumbs from the urban rulers. This inequitable ordinance creates conditions for political and economic apartheid for all ethnic groups with the exception of urban muhajirs and this is the first systematic step for creating ‘Bantustans’ for Sindhis in Sindh so that the indigenous Sindhis do not even get half a chance to progress.

Bantustans, the black homelands, were created by the South African apartheid regime to ensure that the blacks and coloureds were excluded from all benefits that the whites enjoyed. These Bantustans were a major administrative device for the exclusion of blacks from the South African political and economic system under the policy of apartheid. The new ordinance in Sindh follows Hendrik Verwoerd’s apartheid policy principle known as “separate development”. It will ensure that the development in rural, read Sindhi, areas will be condemned to absolute neglect.

The Bantustans of rural areas here under the ordinance are a double whammy for Sindhis as it benefits the MQM by making cities Pretoria and Johannesburg for them; and secondly, making the rural areas Vendaland, Transkei, Kwa-Zulu, etc, for Sindhis, thus depriving them of their rights and opportunities and keeping them mired in the Middle Ages. This ordinance creates the optimum conditions for dividing Sindh between the Urdu-speaking and Sindhi-speaking people, initiating a perpetual conflict between them. The PPP in its anxiety to retain power has recklessly forsaken Sindhis and agreed to the Bantustanaisation of Sindh.

This ordinance will exacerbate the already acute ethnic conflicts. Inevitably, along the existing ethnic fault-lines, tectonic scale fissures will appear and result in an irreversible ethnic and social meltdown because when a single ethnic group pockets all the rewards and the rest are denied even the basic essentials, there is bound to be unprecedented turmoil. It carries the germ of division and can only result in violence. During the civil war in Cyprus, the Greek and Turkish populations generally inhabited separate areas while here they intermingle, which means more bloodshed.

There however is a glitch in this plan. The people of Sindh have realised that their rights have been bartered away for personal benefits by the PPP and MQM and its beneficiaries stand to prosper further, therefore they are bravely resisting the attempt to permanently consign them to ghettoes. They have to understand, if they have not yet, that once they are corralled in their Bantustans there is no escape because they have neither a Nelson Mandela nor an ANC to lead them. They will have to man the barricades for the salvation of Sindh and Sindhis themselves.

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He tweets at mmatalpur and can be contacted at

(Courtesy daily Times, 21 October, 2012)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sindh Bachayo Committee's Stand On New Local Govt System In Sindh


Sindh has been subject to continuous onslaught against its sovereignty and unity particularly
during last sixty five years of Pakistani Federation.   The recent attack on its sovereignty has
been hurled by no other than Pakistan People’s Party who claims to have the mandate of the
people of Sindh.  This attack on the unity and sovereignty of Sindh in the shape of so called
Sindh Peoples Local Government Act, 2012 reminds us the era of July, 1948 when Karachi was
snatched from Sindh and placed under the suzerainty of centre.  Sindh Assembly had to take
refuge in Hyderabad. At present, Sindh Assembly’s  very existence at Karachi will also be
devoid of any utility as it has transferred the executive authority of Provincial Government to
Metropolitan Corporation, Karachi making itself and the Sindh Government a puppet in the
hands of Karachi Mayor.

Unfortunately, Sindh Government is  undeterred by its capitulation and surrender.   Its
Ministers, advisors and PPP office bearers have been making  baseless allegations against the
leaders of National and progressive Parties of Sindh who have been  spearheading a heroic
struggle against this black law. Ignorant of the very letter and spirit of SPLG Act, 2012, the
Government is defending the defenseless.  We would like to present the case of Sindh against
this law by pointing out various provisions of this black law.  For the sake of convenience and
understanding, we have divided the Act of 2012 into three parts: First relates to the constitution
of Councils, Second enumerates the powers of the Metropolitan Corporations and third is about
the financial powers conferred on the councils and resources made available to them.

(1) Constitution of Councils:

Section 8 of the SPLG Act, 2012 declares Karachi as a single district abolishing five districts for
the sake of municipal purposes.  It creates a single Metropolitan Corporation out of five districts
in Karachi and five other single district Metropolitan Corporations in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas,
Sukkur, Khairpur and Larkana. Constituting single district metropolitan corporations in no case
affects  the demographic balance of population.  However, it badly affects the demographic balance and representation  of various communities particularly sindhi and Baloch in Karachi when their majority districts of Malir, South and West as well as large parts of district East are placed under the central control of Mayor who is elected indirectly on the basis of fraudulent electoral system and belongs  to a particular ethnic community not forming majority of the population in Karachi. Under section 8, the Zonal Municipal Committees of the districts and District Council, Karachi representing rural areas of all the five districts have been done away with thus completely eliminating the representation of Sindhi, Baloch and other people living in Karachi. Under Section 9, eighteen towns have been created without respecting the boundaries
of the revenue districts thus political Gerry  maundering has been ordered in the shape of
section 9.  The town boundaries, at present,  run across district boundaries only in Karachi
whereas in other districts of Sindh, town or Talukas are the part and parcel of the same district.

In Karachi, the towns have been created in such a way as to make minority population a
majority one.  No direct elections of the Mayor unlike London will be held.  Thus a dual system
has been enforced which gives complete control to one ethnic community in Karachi at the cost
of others.  Such basis of any law is in clear contradiction of various provisions of constitution of
Pakistan when the Supreme Court of Pakistan has already held that constituencies in Karachi
may be demarcated afresh giving representation to all communities living there.  Thus in the
name of  decentralization, Karachi has been completely centralized  eliminating the
representation of indigenous and other communities by handing over them to the wolves of the
city.  District Council, Karachi which comprised of 70% of the rural areas of Karachi has been
done away with, thus dealing a severe blow to Sindhi and Balochi population of Karachi.  The
fate of Sindhi and Baloch people has been consigned to an extremist group who has a history of
terrorism,  vandalism, torture, mass killings, murder and mayhem.  This system of ethnic
supremacy reminds Sindhi people one of the sad parts of their history when Prime Minister,
Liaquat Ali Khan within one year of Indian  partition in 1947 separated Karachi from rest of
Sindh in July, 1948.  Again in 1954, the central government imposed infamous  one unit
abolishing the provincial status of Sindh and making it a part of Punjab.  Throughout the
history of Pakistan, Sindhis have waged struggle against various onslaughts on the sovereignty and unity of Sindh.  PPP Government has again violated the sovereignty of Sindh by enacting
SPLG Act, 2012 which is no less harmful than Establishment of West Pakistan Act, 1955.


Without any iota of doubt, so called Karachi  Metropolitan Corporation of Karachi has been
created like a state within state.  Under sections 14, 38, 39 and schedule 1 of the Sindh Peoples
Local Government Act, 2012, it has been given vast authority and list of subjects much wider in
scale than the powers and subjects given to Federal Government under schedule 4 of the

Under Section 14(5) it has been empowered to establish any office or activity
which power even the Federal Government does not possess as it can establish only those
departments, divisions or Ministries which are enumerated in schedule 4 of the Constitution.
Under Article 137 of the Constitution, Sindh Assembly has no power to transfer the executive
authority of the Provincial Government to any other authority.  Since there is trichotomy of the
powers under the constitution, one organ of the state, particularly a legislative organ  cannot
snatch executive authority from the provincial government. Sindh  Assembly acted in gross
violation of law by passing a piece of legislation which it had no authority to enact.  Despite
opposition and uproar and a missing chapter 18 and 7 schedules from the statue called SPLGA,
Act, 2012, the speaker of the Assembly went ahead with the passing of bill thus repeating
history of his traitor uncle Ayub Khuhro who in the same manner had cajoled and coerced the
members of Sindh Assembly in 1954 to pass an infamous one unit Bill in 1954.  Speaker, Nisar
Khuhro, being a custodian of the house, not only violated rules of the Assembly but committed
an act of treachery.

Under the aforesaid sections and Schedule 1, the Metropolitan Corporations will have 43
departments with their own administration headed by a grade 20 Chief Officer who will be the
head of District administration. Strangely enough, Sindh government has also 43 departments.
Following departments will work under Mayor of Metropolitan Corporation.

1. Primary, vocational and continuing education. (2)  Literacy (3) Health including
basic  and rural health  centers, child health, women health and  hospitals (4) Civil
Defense (5) Community development and organization (6) Fisheries (7) Social
Welfare (8) Sports and Sport Boards (9) Culture (10) Co-operation department (11)
Finance, Budget and  Accounts (12) KDA, KMC lands and Estate department (13)
Property Tax (14) Housing (15) Physical planning (16) Public health engineering (17)
Transport (18) Master plans, zoning and clarification of lands (19) Water Board and
other water authorities (20) law and order (21) Law and legal drafting (22)
Encroachments (23) Market Committees  (24) Natural Disasters (25) Co-ordination
(26) Environment (27) Human Resources (28) Information technology (29) Works
and Services (30) Land control and land use (31) Land Revenue Co-ordination (32)
Enterprises (33) Investment (34) Industry and Industrial Estates (35) Dams and water
reservoirs (36) Energy (37) Police and crimes control (38) Planning and Development
(39) Data Base (40) Historical and cultural sites (41) Regional markets and
commercial centers (42) Coastal Development (43) Prosecution of offences under
chapter XVII of the Act.

It is astonishing that Sindh government has 43 departments and the  Metropolitan
Corporations will also have same number of departments.  Apart from above departments,
the MCs have been given judicial powers under sections 109, 133, 143, 144 and 145 of the Cr.
P. C.  They shall also exercise powers under sections 30A to 34-B of the Police Act, 1861.
Section 109 pertains to preventive detention, 133 and 143 to public nuisances, section 144 to
ban any sort of activity including freedom of movement. Under section 145, Mayor has been
empowered to attach a property of any citizen in case of dispute over title of the property.  
Interestingly, these powers, at present, are being exercised by Judiciary  and police and
previously, they were conferred on  District magistrates and sub divisional  Magistrates.
Under section 201, the Mayor could be chairman of development authorities of Malir, Layari
and Hyderabad. Under Section 64 and 149  he will exercise complete control over town
Chairmen unlike Mushraff system.  Under Section 23, Mayor could only be removed by two third majority when the Chief Minister can be removed by simple majority of the house.
Under section 28(e) Mayor will implement Provincial and Federal Laws, under Section 29,
he can take disciplinary action against officers of Administration headed by Chief Officer
and he has been empowered to initiate ACRs of the officers.


Under this arrangement, two parallel administrations will be working in the province:
one under the Chief Officer controlled by Mayor and another under  Deputy
Commissioner who shall be responsible to Chief Minister.  The administration headed
by Mayor will be all resourceful and powerful whereas the administration working under Deputy Commissioner  and instructed by Chief Minister will be nominal, weak
and toothless having no authority whatsoever.  This system is more lethal than
Musharaff’s SLGO of 2001 as under that system power and authority over 12
departments was shared by the Provincial as well as Local Governments.  Under this
system, Metropolitan Corporation will have 43 departments instead of 12 under
Mushraff system which stand completely transferred to them. Under this black Act, the
departmental authority will not be shared by provincial government and councils
rather it has been transferred to MCs to the total exclusion of Sindh government.  This
system will  sow the seeds of conflict and  enmity between Sindhi and Urdu speaking
Sindhis and will divide mother Sindh on ethnic basis.


Municipal institutions throughout their history in Sindh right from 1910 to 2001 catered
to their needs from their own taxes including octri tax, local cess, rents and other fees.
However, with the sharing of authority over 12 departments under Sindh Local
Government Ordinance, 2001, Provincial  Finance commission was created on the pattern of National Finance Commission under Article 160 of the constitution to divide tax revenue between Federal and Provincial  governments.  Similar arrangement has been made under section 124 and 126 of the SLGA 2012. Under section 116, the accounts of the councils shall be kept in a manner approved by the President of Pakistan. Besides, property tax has also been transferred to Metropolitan Corporations. Thus Metropolitan corporations will have their own taxes,  plus property tax as well as right over the
finances of the Provincial Government. The Metropolitan Corporations will be fed from
the finances of provincial government and provincial governments will only be serving
as post offices.  History is witness to the fact that encroachment over the powers and
authority of the Province of Sindh has been anathema to Sindhis.  On the one hand,
centre has usurped the sovereignty and resources of the province and on the other Local
Government system has been tailored to snatch the sovereignty and authority of the
province.  It is beyond any shadow of doubt that all powers and authority of the
Province including coastal islands and finance has been transferred to the Karachi
Metropolitan Corporation which will be established on the basis of undemocratic
Principles eliminating the representation of Sindhi and Baloch people and will be a state
unto itself.

PPP Government, through its inept and treacherous policy, has repeated history when
Chanesar, a  local  traitor entered into an agreement with Alauddin Khilji of Dehli to
attack Sindh.  Great Dodo Soomro fought a valiant struggle against Dehli Rule.  This
black law on the basis of  PPP-Mutahida agreement could be compared only with
Chanesar-Khilji agreement to snatch sovereignty of Sindh.  Therefore, we call upon all
the loyal sons and daughters of Sindh to resist this fascist and anti-Sindh black law by
following in the  footsteps of Great  Dodo and defeat the PPP government who has imposed a war-like terms on Sindh.

Hyder Manzil, Karachi