KARACHI - PPP senators on Sunday sounded displeased with Sindh High Court’s verdict on delimitations and local government law, and said events showed the ruling was under pressure from MQM protests.
The high court had declared the delimitation of union councils/committees null and void.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement had started protest demonstrations to pressure the high court even before the hearing of PPP’s petition, PPP leaders told a press conference at PPP media cell near Bilawal House. Saeed Ghani and Ajiz Dhamrah expressed the surprise that the court, by declaring the delimitations as null and void, put the logic and laws in abeyance. They refused to accept that the verdict was in accordance with the law, and called it logic-defying. PPP senators said the difference of population for each union council/union committee was more than 50,000 in Karachi in the delimitation of 2001 against the rest of the province – even the same was not given the legal cover. Against this, they added, the difference of population in Karachi was 40,000 for each union council/union committee in the present delimitation, which was covered in the local government law, added PPP senators.
They said now Karachi’s population was well over 21 million and the duly legislated SLGA had increased the number of union councils to 268 from 178. Earlier, Karachi was under-represented, they went on to say. The Sindh High Court decision has brought the number of UCs back to 178 which means on average, a UC in Karachi will now consist of 1.2 million people, ie, almost six times population of a UC in rural areas.
“The areas comprising the district council of Karachi were already part of the regular districts. These areas had been greatly discriminated by the former city government. Let alone any development work, even salaries of school teachers in these areas were not paid for months. Initially an idea was floated that the district council of Karachi should be revived.”
PPP leaders said, “Later it was felt that sufficient safeguards for ensuring equal rights of these areas had been provided in the SLGA through the functions and powers of the provincial finance commission and the local government commission and that it would be most appropriate if the boundaries of municipal corporations were the same as those of the administrative districts.”.
PPP senators pointed out that population pattern of Karachi was such that certain UCs had an area of more than 2,000 sq kms while others packed three times or four times the number of people in areas as small as three sq kms. “Thus, a lower limit of population was provided in the Act for areas within Karachi that have highly scattered population. Such areas existed in all districts of Karachi including the central district,” they concluded.