ISLAMABAD - Since the handing over of the local bodies system to the provinces under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution none of the province has taken any serious step toward holding of the Local Bodies elections and no province is in a position to hold these elections by June, as directed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The apex court had directed all the chief secretaries of all the four provinces to present a detailed report on the fate and status of local bodies in their respective province on April 30 and things would be clearer after the filing of these reports.

Right now the political dispensations in almost all the four provinces are neither in a mood nor in a position to hold these elections and almost all the political parties have set their eyes on the general elections instead. The worst situation regarding local bodies set-up is in Sindh where the main coalition partners — PPP and MQM — are still undecided on which system of local bodies system to be adopted. The MQM wants to carry on with district government system under Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2001 while PPP provincial chapter wants to revert back to the old municipality system under the Local Bodies Act 1979.

Both the parties are still locking horns on the issue and this standoff between the two is the main reason behind the adoption of some consensus local bodies law for the province. The PPP and MQM team of MPs were working on it for the past couple of years but could not evolve consensus on it.

In these circumstances it would become impossible to go for holding local bodies elections in the province when the main political stakeholders are not agreed on any common system of governance at grassroots level.

The sources in the PPP informed that President Zardari did not want to do any favour to MQM as the continuation of the district government system in Karachi and Hyderabad would give political mileage to MQM and that was the reason they had restored the Commissionerate system in the province dividing Karachi into five districts and restoring the old district status of Hyderabad.

The sources further said that PPP as well as other major political parties had placed the local bodies elections on the backburner and they were all preparing for the general elections, which would be announced anytime after the presentation of the budget in last week of May.

The ruling PPP was also of the view that they wanted to have uniform Local Bodies system in all the four provinces and to evolve consensus and conformity Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani had announced to take up the matter at the platform of Council of Common Interest, but due to pressing engagements and issues facing the federal government the issue could not be taken up at this forum.