KARACHI: In the first round of talks, the Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh government’s team and the Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi leadership on Sunday night failed to reach any settlement to end the latter’s sit-in held outside the Sindh Assembly building for the past 10 days.
The PPP’s central leadership late on Sunday night sent its Sindh leaders, including Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab and party’s provincial Secretary General Waqar Mehdi to negotiate with the JI to discuss the controversial local government bill passed by the Sindh Assembly.
JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman welcomed the Sindh government delegation at the sit-in camp. JI Karachi leader Usama Raza and MPA Abdul Rasheed accompanied the JI chief. During the meeting, the JI refused to end the sit-in that entered its 10th day on Sunday. However, after consultation between leaders of the two sides, a committee for negotiations has been formed that will meet on a daily basis to discuss the controversial local government bill.
Provincial Ministers Nasir Hussain Shah and Saeed Ghani, Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab and Senator Taj Haider will be part of the committee from the PPP’s Sindh government while JI Karachi deputy chief Muslim Pervez, MPA Rasheed and Saifuddin Advocate are among the JI leaders who will attend the talks, according to the JI leaders.
Talking to the media after the meeting, Sindh Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said both sides have agreed to continue negotiations on the local government bill.
“We have formed a committee that will meet on a daily basis to discuss the points of the bill,” he said. Nasir Hussain Shah also requested the JI leaders to postpone the sit-in for a few days.
“Because of some busy schedule, we could not arrive at the sit-in camp on time,” Nasir Shah said. However, he said that the Sindh government’s delegation had visited Idara Noor-e-Haq (JI Karachi headquarters) to discuss the local government bill. He said that the PPP leadership also believed in empowered provinces and cities
“We will definitely include the JI’s recommendation in consultation and are ready to make further amendments in the law,” he said. JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, while talking to the media, said the religious party will continue its sit-in outside the provincial assembly building. “As long as there is no practical step, our sit-in will continue,” he clarified.
However, he appreciated the Sindh government’s positive thinking for initiating negotiations on the disputed local government bill. “The Sindh government’s delegation has assured us of some amendments in the local government legislation,” he said, adding the JI wants direct election of the mayor and a uniform system in the entire province.
The JI leader said powers of the mayor and local government have been snatched and handed over to the Sindh government, adding Karachi is a mini-Pakistan where people from all ethnicities and provinces live.