January 21, 2022

Sindh gives transgenders representation in local councils  

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Murad reviews PHE, RDD uplift schemes

KARACHI, Dec 9,2021- The provincial cabinet, taking a historic and humanly decision, decided to reserve one percent or one seat of membership for transgenders and differently abled persons in each local council.

“This will help bring the marginalized members of the society, the transgenders and differently-abled persons, in the mainstream which is an inclusive approach of the provincial government.” This he said while addressing a post-cabinet media talk here on Thursday at CM House. He was flanked by provincial ministers Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Administrator KMC Murtaza Wahab.

TMC: The chief minister said that the Town Municipal Committees (TMC) or towns were created on the recommendation of the opposition members, including MQM and Jamaat-e-Islami and others. “When towns have been created they are opposing it, which is quite surprising for me,” he said.   Through the proposed amendment Town Municipal Corporations were being introduced in the Metropolitan Corporation and in Municipal Corporations of the Province, the CM said and added “it would help devolution of service delivery at a lower and manageable level and it was long standing demand of all major political parties,” the CM said.

District Councils: Talking about District Councils, Murad Ali Shah said that keeping in view rapid urbanization in Karachi and Hyderabad it was proposed that there would be no rural area or district councils in Karachi and Hyderabad.

Inclusive approach: Murad Ali Shah said that it has been proposed that differently abled and transgender persons would be given representation in the Local Councils. Under the proposal one percent of membership would be reserved for differently abled and transgender persons in each council.

Governor’s observation:

Referring to the Sindh Governor’s observation on the bill, the CM said that on Section 18, Sindh Governor has observed: “How council can elect any person as Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Council, instead ‘any member from house’ should be elected.”

The CM said that in 2013 the City Nazim of Karachi Naimatullah Khan, Nasir Shah of Sukkur, Kanwar Naveed Jameel of Hyderabad and all others were not councilors but they were elected as nazims and now the beneficiaries of that system – MQM, Jamaat Islami and other parties were opposing it. “Therefore, the cabinet accepted the observation of the governor and decided that the Mayors and chairmen would be councilors.

Election of mayors/chairmen through show of hands

The chief minister pointed out another observation of the Governor in Section 18, saying that the Governor had observed that the secret balloting would create problems of horse trading.  “As per Article 226 of the Constitution of Pakistan `all elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be by secret ballot,” the chief minister said and added that Local Government was a creation of the Constitution of Pakistan and bound to its provisions. “But as pointed out by the Sindh Governor there are chances of ‘horse trading’, therefore the provincial cabinet has decided to drop the proposed amendment and election of mayors/chairmen would be held through show of hands.

Murad Ali Shah, talking about proposed amendment in Section 20, said that the Governor has observed that the original provision where term of council was to commence since holding its first meeting be allowed to start, therefore the cabinet dropped the proposed amendment and accepted the observation of the Governor.

Talking about insertion of new Section 140(a), the chief minister said that the  Governor has observed that in the act of provincial assembly amendment, any such notification would be against constitutional spirit. The chief minister responding to the Governor’s observation said that the cabinet worked under the Provincial Assembly. “Also, schedules of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 relate to executive functions and powers of the council that at times require immediate intervention,” therefore Section 140(a) was inserted.

He added that the Cabinet already has the power under section 74 to take decisions on functions and responsibilities of local councils at any time. “As the law is being discussed and improved, it was imperative for the Cabinet to have the power to amend the schedules for timely changes, however, the proposed amendment has been withdrawn as per the observation of the Governor.

Responding to the changes in the schedule, the CM said that the Sindh  Governor has observed that the removal of functions of medical college and teaching/specialized hospitals, milk supply schemes, birth, deaths and marriages registration, control of infectious diseases, adult education, primary education, optional functions, health and maternity centers, primary health, hospitals & dispensaries, control of articles of food and drink, milk supply, education and compulsory education would further weaken the local government institutions which is against the spirit of Constitutional provisions.”

Murad Ali Shah said that after detailed deliberations the functions of education and health were withdrawn from the Local Councils.

“Milk Supply Schemes though never executed by Local Councils, the function is proposed to be restored for Local Councils,” he disclosed.

Registration: The function was previously listed as a function of District Municipal Corporation and District Councils. However, the function was being performed by the concerned UCs, the chief minister said and added in case of town committee and municipal committee the registration was carried out by the concerned town or municipal committee. He added that the anomaly has now been removed and it is proposed that UCs in a Corporation or District Council may be empowered to do the registration of birth, death and marriages. “In case of Town Committee and Municipal Committee, the registration will be carried out by the concerned Town or Municipal Committee,” he said. Mr Shah said that Schedule IX was proposed to be introduced in the SLGA, 2013. “The proposed schedule outlines the “relations between elected councils and provincial departments working in their respective administrative boundaries” – a formal linkage is being proposed between a local council and the provincial departments such as education, health,

police, agriculture and livestock, women empowerment, religious affairs and minority affairs, sports working in the jurisdiction of the council  would have to submit their quarterly progress reports in the councils for discussion and review.

The chief minister said that the powers of collection of property tax have been taken away from the Excise & taxation department and given to local councils. “We are committed to strengthen local councils and would welcome constructive input from the opposition,” he said.

Mr Shah said that the Mayor of the city would be co-chairman of the board of Karachi water & sewerage Board. He has also been made chairman of Solid waste management. A similar functions have been given to the mayors and chairmen of others municipal corporations and committees,

Sindh Assembly passes LG Amendment Bill

Q&A: To a question, the chief minister said that the federal government has sent him an invitation card through courier service for the launching ceremony of Green Line BRT. “Now, I’ll decide whether I should attend it or not,” he said. Replying to a question, Mr Shah said that when prices of petrol and gas have been increased by the federal government how his government would control the prices.

`Deserters’

To another question, the chief minister said that the police officers who relinquished their charges and joined their new postings without being relieved by the provincial government would be considered as `deserters’ and the matter would be taken up with the AG Sindh not to issue them a last pay slip. Murad Ali Shah said that the provincial police cadre was being prepared.