KARACHI - The ruling PPP and MQM once again failed to sort out differences on Local Government System as the core committee meeting of both the parties remained inconclusive on Wednesday.

The core committee comprising both the parties met at the CM House with Senior Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, Local Government Minster Agha Siraj Durrani and Minister for Archives Rafique Engineer from ruling PPP and Provincial Minister while MQM’s Parliamentary Leader in Sindh Assembly Syed Sardar Ahmed and member of its coordination committee Wasay Jalil represented the MQM. The other coalition partners including PML-F, ANP, PML-Q and NPP were not invited at the meeting despite their repeated demands to take them into confidence on LG issue.

Meanwhile, a brief statement issued from the CM House said that the two sides discussed each others’ proposals in cordial atmosphere and decided to continue the consultation process to reach a consensus on the Local Government System, 2011. Both the sides also decided that clause by clause discussion would be continued further in next meeting.

A PPP leader privy to the talks held in the meeting, told TheNation that both the parties discussed the LG System clause-by-clause as proposals submitted by both the parties were contradictory to each other’s. The PPP leader confirmed that some good things have been retained by the ruling party in its draft proposal of the Local Government Bill 2011, which has been shared with its coalition partners - MQM, PML-F, PML-Q, ANP and NPP.

“The important portions of the Local Government Ordinance 2001 of General (r) Musharraf’s regime have been retained by the ruling PPP, which includes, existing representation of women, peasants and minorities, union councils, Provincial Finance Commission for distribution of resource among the districts/tehsils/union councils from provincial government, Musalahiti committees at local level, and other chapters also incorporated in the draft law.

Sources said that the PPP in its draft law has mentioned new chapter clarifying the number of population for districts, tehsils and union councils.

 In the draft, the PPP did not give any major power of tax collection to control the police or land issues to the local governments/district governments. The PPP doesn’t want to give powers of land, police and collection of major tax to the local governments. However, contradicting to the proposals of the PPP, the MQM wants more powers of controlling of police, land and collection of taxes issue for local/district governments.

Currently, both the parties have differentiated with each others’ proposals. As the PPP and other coalition partners believe that powerful and authoritative local level governments will undermine the writ of the provincial government, but the MQM does not agreed with them. 

However, after each meeting on this contentious issue between two the parties, lthe eaders of both parties showed that they have a consensus opinion that the new system should be introduced. There will be more and more discussions to introduce a new system, which will yield consensus.