Opposition legislators belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday submitted to the assembly secretariat their own draft of the Sindh Local Government Bill.
Speaking at a press conference, MQM-P leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel said they had drafted the local government bill on the basis of their own experiences so as to give the maximum administrative and financial autonomy to the municipal agencies of the province.
He said the proposed bill envisaged a system of tax collection by the municipal agencies down to the level of the union committees. Jameel said that the proposed bill envisaged that the provincial government would transfer up to 40 per cent of its revenue to the municipal agencies under the system of a provincial finance commission.
He said the bill proposed giving tax collection authority to the municipal agencies so that they could raise enough funds on their own to resolve civic issues of their respective areas. The MQM-P leader said the bill proposed a consultative body to oversee different civic agencies of Karachi, including the Karachi Development Authority, Malir Development Authority and LDA as Karachiâs mayor would head this committee.
The proposed law also envisages setting up a citizensâ community board to resolve issues related to civic and utility services at the local level, including water and gas supply. Jameel said the proposed bill had also proposed a system of village and neighbourhood councils to resolve civic issues of the people.
Also speaking on the occasion, MQM-Pakistan leader Muhammad Hussain said the municipal agencies in the province were not being empowered despite the fact that they had to directly deal with the problems of the citizens.
He said the bill had mentioned some 50 municipal and civic agencies in the province, which had to directly deal with the citizens. He said the existing Provincial Local Government Commission used to blackmail the municipal agencies on the pretext of doing investigations into their affairs.
A day earlier, talking to a delegation of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) led by its city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman at the CM House, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said the local bodies would be strengthened by incorporating necessary amendments in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013.
The JI delegation included Syed Abdul Rasheed, Muslim Parvaiz, Usama Razi, Saifuddin Ghazi and Zahid Askari while the CM was accompanied by the local government minister and law adviser.
The JI leaders stressed the need for strengthening the local bodies by giving them more powers, to which Shah said he had already announced in his last press conference that the local government law would be amended to strengthen the local governments.
He added that he had also decided to devolve the operations of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and the Sindh Building Control Authority to the divisional level. The JI delegation urged the CM to take up the issue of the census with the federal government. âThe census is a controversial issue and the grievances of Karachiites in this regard should be addressed,â said the JI city chief.
Shah told the delegation that it was he who had taken up this matter in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and now the next CCI meeting was scheduled for November 11, in which he would again urge the forum to decide the matter.
He said he was ready to hold the local bodies elections, but before that the results of the census had to be notified.