KARACHI – Right down to the running year, 2013, constitutionally the last one of the five-year term starting in 2008, the provincial assembly in Sindh carried out some significant pieces of legislation in the education, health, finance and other sectors, but the persistent inactiveness and lack of interest remained more dominant all these years. Other than lack of involvement of the standing committees in the legislation process, a large number of MPAs among a total of 168, voted remained seated and tight-lipped during the proceedings. A careful analysis of the performance of the provincial assembly tells that it was without an opposition leader for most part of the parliamentary years. Not surprisingly, the lawmakers from all the parliamentary parties have expressed satisfaction over the performance of the assembly in terms of legislation business. At the same time, they complain about inactive participation of the standing committees in the law making process. According to data gathered from the assembly secretariat, over 100 bills were passed into law, among them some are quite significant. From 2008 to 2012, the provincial legislature passed over 76 bills into laws, of which majority pertained to the education and health sectors. Expect two or three bills, all the legislation pieces were made with consensus of the Treasury and the opposition. Almost all parties, the PPP, MQM, PML-F, ANP, PML-Q, PML-Likeminded and NPP, voted in support of these pieces of legislation. Among some important legislation, the establishment of the Sindh Revenue Board was a significant step that came after consensus over the NFC award, through which the province started collecting sales tax on services to the tune of Rs25billion per annum. Besides legislation for seven medical and other universities in the public sector, several universities after the name of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto were also established in the private sector.Other significant works included the bills passed for free education from grade one till secondary level for every child, establishment of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, voluntary transplantation of human organs and tissues law, teachers’ development authority for training, establishment of education cities in Karachi and other cities of the province, arms regularisation to control and take action against illegal arms, establishment of Sindh Law University in Karachi and other bills of the provincial assembly. On International Women’s Day on March 8, the House passed a domestic violence (prevention and protection) bill into law, in which punishment from six months to two years imprisonment has been introduced against emotional, physical violence and sexual harassment against women. First time in five years of the sitting assembly, the House also passed a bill, tabled by opposition member Arif Mustafa Jatoi on private members’ day, calling for replacement of word ‘Sind’ with ‘Sindh’ in any laws existing in the province since the British era. Other than legislation with positive impacts, the ruling PPP with the support of MQM passed a bill into law, through which legal cover was given to the out-of-turn promotions of police and other officers amid protest of the PML-F and other opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly. The passage of this bill by the ruling party was widely criticised not only by the opposition parties but also by the civil society, as according to them, the government had given illegal promotions to juniors and other officers on the basis of nepotism. The flip flop of the ruling PPP was also witnessed in the Sindh Assembly when it repealed the 2001 local government ordinance and revived the local government ordinance 1979 in early 2012. This step taken in a hurry drew ire of a coalition partner, the MQM, which parted ways with the government and announced to sit on opposition benches in the national and provincial assemblies. Three months later, the ruling PPP backtracked and repealed the 1979 local government law, inviting the anger of nationalist parties in the province. Later, after hectic consultations among the ruling PPP and MQM a new governance law, ‘Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012’, was passed on October 1, 2012, which is still being bitterly resisted by its allies-PML-F, NPP and NPP in the Sindh Assembly with a strong opposition on the Floor of the House. The PML-F, ANP, NPP and some of the PML-Q lawmakers not only parted ways with the PPP government but also came out of the ruling fold and sat on opposition benches in the assembly. A massive protest campaign against the SPLGA 2012 which the nationalists and other parties called an attempt to bifurcate the Sindh province. The writers, intellectuals, poetesses and civil society organisations also joined the movement against the controversial law.When the MQM on February 15 announced to quit the PPP-led government just one month before the dissolution of the assemblies of March 16 and formally applied for opposition benches, the ruling PPP as an effort to calm down the increasing anger against in the Sindh suddenly repealed the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012 and revived Local Government Ordinance 1979. But political analysts said that the repeal of SPLGA 2012 and revival of 1979 local government ordinance was a joint plan of the PPP and MQM with the motive to appease their voters. They also attributed the quitting of the government and sitting on opposition benches by the MQM in Sindh part of their agreement with the PPP, so that they could bring a caretaker CM of their choice. As all the parliamentary groups were coalition partner of the ruling PPP, the seat of opposite leader in the Sindh Assembly remained vacant for nearly a half period of the five year term. Majority of the MPAs either did not take any interest in parliamentary business or they remained silent. The women lawmakers participated actively in the proceedings no matter it was a piece of legislation, a resolution or a question-hour.Some of the male MPAs were also part of the Sindh Assembly, who did not utter a single word and kept seated. MQM’s parliamentary leader and opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, Syed Sardar Ahmed, whose party remained in the government for four-and-a-half years with the PPP, said the government did not follow democracy with its true principle of participative democracy. Though, the parliamentary committees have important role in every developed country in the process of legislation, but such elected committees’ participation remained almost zero in Sindh Assembly as over 90pc bills passed by the house were brought and taken up by the legislature at once instead of sending them to the committees for further consideration, he added.MPA Mrs. Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of PML-F from opposition benches while talking to The Nation said that we are not 100pc satisfy with the performance of the Assembly in terms of legislation. She said that PPP government had brought laws which were interest of the province. Even, a law was passed with majority vote by government which aimed to give legal cover to illegal promotions of officers. She appreciated the government, saying that some laws passed for establishment of universities and free education in health and education sectors.Another vocal lawmaker, Arif Mustafa Jatoi of NPP from opposition prepared a performance report on performance of the departments/ministers in Sindh Assembly, according to which, provincial ministers failed in replying the 74pc questions asked by the lawmakers about their departments in last five years of the Assembly.