KARACHI - The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Monday held talks to formulate new law on the local government system, which is heading with snail pace.

However, an official statement issued from the Chief Minister House claimed that the progress witnessed in the talks between the leaders of two parties on a number of issues on drafting the law of the local government system. The core committee meeting was attended by the Sindh Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durani, Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro and Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah from the PPP, while the MQM team was represented by its deputy convener of coordination committee and Federal Minister Dr Farooq Sattar, Syed Sardar Ahmed, Kanwar Naveed Jamil and Wasay Jalil.

Official statement said that the leaders of the two parties vowed that they would finalise the consensus of the Local Government Act 2012 very soon.

The reason of not reaching on the consensus law is clear that the MQM wants more powers including police and land revenue, while the PPP is opposing the idea believed that the more powers to the local government will deteriorate the system, suggesting only municipality services to the local governments/district governments. The fate of the local government elections depends on the efforts of the PPP and the MQM, when will they reach on the consensus law of the LG system.

But the given circumstances do not offer any agreement among the two parties on the new law of the local government system in near future, said the analysts. However, accepting the demand of the MQM to devolve important powers for district governments could not be ruled out as analysts opined that President Asif Ali Zardari may accept recommendations of its ally-MQM to complete the term of present government.

Meanwhile, Sindh Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani said that he was personally in favour of mayor system rather than nazim, which was introduced by General Pervez Musharraf tenure in 2001.

After the meeting of core committee, talking to media, he said that they had evolved the consensus on major issues in the local government system and would continue the debate in Ramazan too.  He added that after Eidul Fitr, we will finalise the new draft of LG system, which is to be tabled in Sindh Assembly. Soon after moving the draft in assembly, government will issue schedule of the election, which may be held either in October or November.

When asked about the reservations expressed by other coalition partners ANP, PML-F and NPP on not taking them into confidence on the issue, the local government minister said that all the parties would be taken into confidence before preparing the final draft.

MQM’s Wasay Jalil said that his party wants more powers for the elected representatives of the local govt system instead of bureaucracy. Sindh Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro said that coalition partners were negotiating on the new law of the local government system. He said that people of the province would hear good news about the new law of the local government system after Eid.