KARACHI - Repeating its history of U-turns, the ruling PPP got repealed the recently passed Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012 and revived the Local Government Ordinance 1979 amid protests by the MQM lawmakers in Sindh Assembly on Thursday.

The surprising move of revocation of its own law by the PPP comes as just few weeks are left to the dissolution of the assemblies. The MQM is bitterly opposed to this old law. Before quitting the coalition government, the popular party in Urban Sindh had got the PPP to bring in the SPGA2012 despite severe opposition from the nationalist parties enjoying wide support in rural areas.

The assembly session started at 12.30pm with a delay of two and half hours and was chaired by Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro in the chair. After the question hour, Law Minister Ayaz Soomro stood up urging the chair to allow him to move a motion to table supplementary business of a bill to repeal SPLGA 2012 and revive the Local Government Ordinance 1979.

The MQM lawmakers opposed it but when the speaker did put the motion in the house which was approved by the lawmakers with majority of votes while MQM lawmakers voted against it. Amid slogans of ‘no-no, shame-shame’ of the MQM lawmakers, the law minister continued the clause by clause consideration of ‘The Sindh (Repeal of the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012 and Revival of the Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979) Bill 2013.

An unusually huge attendance of over 80 MPAs of PPP including Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah was seen on the occasion and they remained active for the passage of the law during the session. When a stage for passage of any clause would come, the ruling PPP’s MPAs would stand on their seats by thumping the desks and voicing ‘yes’ in favour of the clause.

During all this, the house echoed with slogans of ‘Jeay Bhutto, Jeay Sindh’ from the ruling PPP lawmakers, and ‘Jeay Altaf, shame-shame and dictatorial laws na-manzoor’ from the MQM lawmakers, while PML-F lawmakers chanted ‘Jeay Sindh, Jeay Pagara’. The MQM lawmakers led by their deputy parliamentary leader Faisal Sabzwari and Dr Sagheer Ahmed assembled in front of the speaker’s rostrum and tore the copies of the bill and continued chanting slogans.

On the other hand, jubilant MPAs of ruling PPP were seen hugging and congratulating each other. The opposition MPAs from PML-F, NPP and PML-Likeminded voted in support of the repealing SPLGA 2012 but they were not that much enthusiastic about it. According to the new law, Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012 which was passed on September 7, 2012 by the Sindh Assembly is declared repealed and 1979 local government ordinance 1979 is revived immediately in the province.

In the 1979 Local Government Ordinance, old system would become enforced as all the orders and posts created under the SPLGA 2012 were declared null and void, besides the metropolitan corporations formed in the province will not exist anymore except for the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. In the objective and reasons of the new law, the government has stated that to improve the delivery of municipal and provide justice and equal opportunities to all the people of the province, it is expedient to revive the time tested Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979 and repeal the new act.

After adaptation of law to revive the old system, MQM leader Faisal Sabzwari on a point of order condemned the move and termed it the revival of dictator Ziaul Haq’s ‘black order’. He said PPP leaders were applauding the benefits of the SPLGA 2012 but when MQM left the government and submitted application for opposition seats, the same law became a bad law.

In his fiery speech, he termed it injustice to the people of Sindh. He said that provincial autonomy does not complete with the powers from centre to the province but constitution upholds the government of three tiers federal, provincial and local governments.

Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of PML-F while congratulating the PPP opined that why government passed such laws which it has to repeal later.

He said that local government elections must be held but peoples’ right has been snatched by not holding the local bodies’ elections in the province.