The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday issued notices to federal and provincial authorities regarding a petition challenging the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, directed the governments to submit their replies at the next hearing scheduled for Oct 23. A few days ago it emerged that President Arif Alvi had promulgated an ordinance on August 31, keeping parliament out of the loop. The first schedule of the ordinance mentions Sindh’s two islands — Bundal and Buddo.
The Sindh government had reacted fiercely, asserting its ownership over the islands and describing any attempt to develop them without the provincial cabinet’s approval as unconstitutional. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had likened the move to India’s illegal annexation of Kashmir.1 However, the issue took another turn after Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi posted a letter on social media from the Sindh government dated July 6, making Bundal island “available” to the Centre.