KARACHI - Sindh Cabinet has unanimously rejected presidential ordinance under which Pakistan Islands Development Authority has been established and called upon the federal government to withdraw the ordinance at once.

The decision was taken during a Sindh cabinet meeting at the CM House, with Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers, advisors, chief secretary Mumtaz Shah, and concerned secretaries in attendance. The cabinet was given a detailed briefing on the ordinance promulgated on 31 August 2020 by the President of Pakistan. The cabinet members, commenting on ordinance, said that it was against the “Constitution of Pakistan.”

“The Constitution establishes the ownership of the provincial government on the lands, the islands, and the land in the sea located within its territorial jurisdiction,” the members said. The cabinet said that the ordinance had been promulgated in such a way as if the islands were the “property of the federal government”. “The cabinet said that the ordinance, setting aside the conditions set by the Sindh government, declared the islands located in the territorial jurisdiction of the Sindh and Balochistan as the property of the federal government,” the statement said.

The provincial cabinet said that the ordinance was “an attempt to trample the rights of the people of Sindh”. It has decided to write a letter to the federal government asking it to withdraw the ordinance which has “denied the rights of the provincial government and its people.” Addressing a press conference later in the day, Sindh government’s spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said that the province had reservations over the federal government’s decision.

“The ordinance that was issued on September 2 surfaced on October 3, showing the government’s bad intent,” Wahab said. The government on August 31 promulgated an ordinance to establish the authority to develop and manage the islands in the internal and territorial waters of Pakistan. The authority has been created to “initiate and maintain a continuous process of reclamation and urban planning and identify immovable properties and projects suitable for the development of schemes within the internal and territorial waters of Pakistan.” The Bundal and Buddo islands, on the Arabian Sea and off the coast of Karachi, will be the initial focus of the authority, the publication said.