KARACHI - Carved out of the historical Thatta district, the Sindh government on Saturday notified Sijawal [tehsil] as a new district – a move which has been rejected by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional altogether.

The two opposition groups called it a controversial decision and an attempt to gain political benefit.

Thatta, which consisted of nine tehsils, had always been of great political significance to the PPP. The ruling party in Sindh has always faced a tough challenge from the Shirazi group here. The district remained the centre stage of political fight even in the May elections.

At present, three provincial and one national assembly seats for Thatta are being held by the Shirazis, who after forming the government in the Centre, had formally joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz folds.  The only seat that of the provincial assembly the PPP won in the May elections was from Jati area. Here former president Zardari’s foster bother Owais Muzaffar had contested the election.

Muzaffar said that carving out a new district from Thatta was a gift from the PPP government to the area people. He said the decision of creating a new district would bring development to Sijawal and ease problems of the locals.

On the other hand, PML-N leader Ayaz Shah Shirazi said the people of Thatta would not accept this decision. He said Thatta had a historical importance, so it could not be bifurcated. He announced a protest in the district as well as in the provincial and national assemblies against the controversial decision of the PPP government. PML-F leader Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said the PPP government should not proceed in haste and should take the opposition parties into confidence. He said his party would also raise the issue in the Sindh Assembly.

Nevertheless, following the approval of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, the Board of Revenue issued a notification about bifurcation of Thatta district that consisted of nine tehsils.

The new district would be comprised of four tehsils: Sijawal, Mirpur Bathoro, Jati and Shah Bandr.

Sources in the PPP confirmed that the Sindh government had not consulted the party’s elected representatives and local leaders of Thatta district on drawing out a new district.

Many PPP leaders The Nation talked to confirmed that the party leadership was taking a solo flight.

According to them, attempts were also being made to carve out a new district of Lyari from Karachi district. The notification about Lyari district is expected to be issued after Eidul Azha.