Playing with powder keg

Playing with powder keg

Issues that can best be settled through political dialogue are landing up in SC, thanks rigid stands taken by the political parties.

Lack of flexibility on the part of the ruling coalition on the one hand and the nationalist parties on the other has already caused enough turmoil in Sindh. The SC has been approached to adjudicate on the issue of the controversial Sindh People’s Local Government law recently passed by the Sindh Assembly. With the province polarised as never before, whatever verdict the court might deliver, it is going to be criticised by large sections of population.

The issue of hundreds of thousands of voters who have not been registered in Karachi despite their being residents of the city for over a decade should also have been resolved through talks between the parties concerned. Rigidity on the part of the MQM standing in the way, a petition on behalf of the aggrieved and duly endorsed by the leaders of PPP, PML-N, PTI and several other parties has been filed in the SC.

That reports of the Black Day flashed by all major Sindhi papers on their front pages failed to find a place in many Karachi newspapers again underlines the gravity of the prevailing urban rural divide. While the Black Day was initially being observed against the new Local Bodies law, LHC verdict on KB dam was also included in the list of grievances by Sindh Bachayo Committee. The verdict has been strongly condemned by the nationalist parties and by the Sindhi media. Sindh information minister has, meanwhile, announced that the issue would be taken up in the Sindh Assembly session on December 6.

The Supreme Court has directed the ECP to look into the possibility of undertaking the delimitation of Karachi’s constituencies. Any move in the direction amounts to entering a minefield. Many would agree with the idea of doing way with the gerrymandering of the city’s constituencies. Constituencies based on ethnic lines, it is argued, can only play a divisive role. While reportedly 13 political parties told the Secretary ECP that they supported the idea of delimitation, the MQM however adamantly opposed it.

The courts move by apolitical standards. They are supposed to decide issues on the basis of merit determined by the facts presented before them. In the world of politics, however, facts often take the back seat while perceptions acquire a more relevant substantiality. Courts are of little help when large communities motivated by group interests take decisions they perceive to be crucial. What is required in situations of the type are not verdicts by courts but mediation by political parties which alone can arbitrate through persuasion and bargaining. –  PT