Ambassador Alam Brohi develops his point of view
Is MQM-P the Sole of Urban Sindh is not a well-defined term. It is thus far devoid of any consensual interpretation. This term was used 50 years ago when the leaders of the Urdu-speaking population of Sindh sought the indulgence of the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to fix a quota for their community in the federal and provincial services and admissions in higher educational institutions following the language disturbances of July 1972.
The quota system within the province was then fixed and given a constitutional cover to promote harmony in the land. The term urban Sindh was used in the administrative communications regarding the quota system which implied Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur. The quota system is still observed on the basis of this vague term, though other cities of Sindh including Larkana, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah and Qambar Shahdadkot have enormously grown in population and area and well deserve to be treated as part of the Urban Sindh. For the examination of the agreements under discussion, we shall treat the term in the limited context it was originally used in July 1972 implying Sukkur, Hyderabad and Karachi.
Let us be clear about the representation of the urban Sindh. The urban Sindh today is not the exclusive preserve of Is MQM-P the Sole, which, after splitting into many groups, is the pale shadow of its previous organisational and electoral strength. Today, its splinter groups including Pak Sarzameen Party, MQM-PIB, MQM-Haqiqi and MQM-Altaf equally clamour for the representation of the urban Sindh. The PTI had almost banished the MQM including MQM-P in Karachi emerging as the largest political party in the capital city. Many other political parties have made inroads in Karachi. The MQM has already lost its limited electoral influence in Sukkur to PPP. Therefore, treating MQM-P as the sole representative of the urban Sindh is erroneous and highly misleading. The agreement between PMLN and MQM is wholly based on the misleading assumption that the latter solely represents urban Sindh.
Coming back to the agreement, its clauses 7,8,11,12,13,14,16 (we have already examined clauses 17 and 18) are specific to the appointment of the Chief Secretary and the Inspector General of Police in Sindh; the implementation of the existing and new development packages for urban Sindh within a timeframe under federal government; the provision of jobs in the federal government, and the issue of usurpation of job quota of urban Sindh in the federal government on the basis of fake domiciles; the enhancement of job quota of urban Sindh in the federal government to allay the deprivation – all to be implemented by a committee formed with the agreement of MQM; the reconstitution and appointment of Boards of Governor and Chief Executives of federal agencies located in urban Sindh with fair representation to urban Sindh; the complaints of gerrymandering in delimitations, and the withdrawal of unannounced ban on the political activities of Is MQM-P the Sole, respectively.
All these proposals and actions therefrom are subject to the agreement of the MQM-P. The actions with the veto power of MQM-P militate against the very concept of the geographical and territorial indivisibility of Sindh, and the overall interests of Sindhis settled in the megacities of Karachi and Hyderabad with residences and domiciles for decades, and are blatantly in conflict with the universally recognised definition of good governance, provincial autonomy, and the constitutional division of powers between the federal and provincial governments in a federation. Many of the proposals trample upon the powers of the provincial government. Maybe, the current provincial government would not challenge this encroachment on its powers because of the ruling party’s coalition in the federal administration. However, we cannot afford to set such a bad precedent to compound the constitutional matters for the future.
The main stakeholder in the appointment of Chief Secretary and Inspector General of Police and the implementation of development packages for any city within the province is the provincial administration – and not a fascist political group which has never explicitly or implicitly cherished this land as its home. We may recall the PPP provincial government was constantly at loggerheads with the previous regime on these issues. The issues of both the usurpation of job quota of urban Sindh in the federal government based on fake domiciles and the enhancement of job quota of urban Sindh in the federal government not only encroach upon the privilege of the provincial administration but are also prejudicial to the overall interests of Sindh. It is the privilege of the provincial government to verify the record and determine whether the domicile is genuine or fake. How the federal government can interfere in this matter?
Again, how the federal government can enhance the job quota for urban Sindh by tampering with the constitutionally determined job quota of 40-60 in the provincial and federal jobs between urban and rural Sindh, respectively? This ratio of quota is being faithfully observed since 1972. If the federal government is keen to enhance the federal quota, it should, in the wider interests of fair play, be apportioned by the same ratio between the urban and rural Sindh. The implementation of these two proposals by a committee with Is MQM-P the Sole at the steering is tantamount to the denial of the very existence of provincial administration and eclipses every possibility of fair play for rural Sindh.
The federal government is at liberty to reconstitute and re-appoint Boards of Governor and Chief Executives of federal agencies located in urban Sindh with fair representation of urban Sindh. However, who guarantees that all this would not be at the peril of the qualified and deserving persons with domiciles from the rural Sindh in this ethnic polarisation. The issue of delimitations also begs consultation with all the political entities having electoral stakes in Karachi. All the MQM splinter groups including the MQM-P have no ban on their political activities except for MQM-Altaf. Is this clause implicitly referring to this banned splinter group? People of Sindh already have doubts about the renunciation of the original Is MQM-P the Sole by MQM-P. This confirms their doubts. TW (to be continued)