Saturday, July 11, 2009

PPP-MQM talks in final phase for post-LG setup

* PPP wants to allow MQM to continue having administrative control over Karachi

KARACHI: Both the major ruling partners in Sindh, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), have entered the decisive phase of talks to develop a consensus regarding the arrangement in the post- local governments’ dissolution scenario, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad.

The government had announced the dissolution of local bodies at the end of their tenure in August this year, and appointment of administrators in place of the incumbent nazims. The ruling PPP had started deliberations with its major coalition partner, the MQM, about developing a consensus over about the future administration of the Karachi and Hyderabad, because the MQM-backed nazims have administrative control over both the local governments.

On Friday, the provincial local government minister, Agha Siraj Durrani, who is a heavy weight in the provincial cabinet, called on the Sindh Governor, Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, at the Governor’s House to further discuss the issue. It was a follow-up meeting to the one held there between Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and the governor on Thursday night.

The governor left for Dubai soon after his meeting with the local government minister, while MQM leader Babar Ghauri also left for the same destination. According to official sources, the MQM leadership would hold a final meeting with Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik in Dubai over the issue today (Saturday).

It is pertinent to mention here that Malik had already held a meeting with MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London before Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s formal announcement about future of the local bodies.

According to sources close to the PPP, the party leaders want to accommodate the MQM by allowing it to continue having administrative control over the Karachi, and it is likely that a nominee of the MQM would be appointed as the administrator in place the city nazim. The sources said that the PPP, however, was not in favour to allow the MQM to continue its control over Hyderabad, and wants its own man as the administrator there.

The PPP government has also deferred a meeting of the district coordination officers (DCOs) that was scheduled for today at the office of the Sindh Chief Secretary Fazlur Rehman. According to the DCO, no new date has been given for the meeting. Official sources said that the meeting was aimed at issuing formal directives to the DCOs over taking over administrative control of district governments at the time of their dissolution.

The sources said the government has postponed the DCOs meeting because of the final meeting of the PPP and the MQM leaderships in Dubai, as it has to wait for its outcome. The sources have said a new date would be fixed for DCOs meeting now.

No comments: