The Sindh Assembly adopted a resolution on Wednesday condemning the Pakistan Islands Development Authority Ordinance and demanding the federal government to withdraw it.
The ordinance, promulgated by the Centre, has met with increasing criticism from several corners since it first came into public knowledge.
The resolution caused uproar in the house as all opposition parties in the Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh government, with the exception of the Grand Democratic Alliance and few members of PTI and TLP, opposed the move and staged a walkout in the provincial assembly.
MQM and PTI lawmakers protested against the resolution while GDA and one of the PTI MPA Sheharyar Shar supported the resolution, condemning the PTI-led federal government’s move to encroach Sindh islands to build a modern city.
Tahreek-e-Labaik Pakistan also supported the resolution and called upon the federal government to withdraw the decision.
Speaking on the floor of the house, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said the ordinance promulgated by the Centre is unconstitutional and the Maritime Act clearly indicates the territorial waters around the Karachi shore.
According to Article 132 of the Constitution, not only islands and maritime boundaries but minerals underneath them are also the property of the provinces, said the chief minister. “Sindh government has not issued any NOC to build a new city over islands,” he maintained.
Amid the deeply charged political atmosphere that has only heightened since the 11-party alliance announced its movement against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, the concerns of local populace, environmentalists, fishing communities, academics and civil activists are likely to be swept under the carpet as the rift between political opponents widens.
Lawmakers of the GDA, who perceive the Ordinance as an encroachment on the rights of Sindh’s people, calling for its withdrawals implies cracks in the PTI’s coalition government in the Centre. But the federal government is adamant to continue with what it calls a development project and has awarded tenders as well.
Addressing Wednes-day’s session of the Sindh Assembly, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah termed the presidential ordinance on islands ‘an attack on the integrity of Sindh’ and announced to bring a resolution against it.
He said that even before the 18th amendment, the islands belonged to Sindh. The President can issue ordinances at the request of the federation but it goes against the constitution. They don’t even know the names of the islands, it was a power-drunk move, he added.