Sindh Assembly passes resolution against island ordinance

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly adopted a resolution against the Pakistan Islands Development Authority Ordinance and demanded its withdrawal by the federal government.

The resolution was opposed by all parties with the exception of the Grand Democratic Alliance who staged a walkout in the provincial assembly.

The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protested against the resolution while GDA and PTI MPA Sheharyar Shar supported the resolution. Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) 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.

The chief minister said Sindh government has not issued any NOC to build a new city over islands. According to Article 132 of the Constitution, not only islands and maritime boundaries but minerals underneath them are also the property of the provinces, he said.

He claimed that the federal “never let’s go of an opportunity to exploit Sindh province”, pointing out that the “fallacious” claims in the ordinance refers to the twin islands as federal property.

He asserted that the federal minister does not have the courage to come clean on the matter and talk to the provincial government. He added that the presidential ordinance was taken out overnight to usurp the islands with taking the Sindh government into confidence.

He dared the centre to take over the islands forcibly to Islamabad and said there would be no negotiations with the federal government on the matter until the presidential ordinance is declared void.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, while addressing a press conference on Tuesday had said the government has rejected the presidential Ordinance promulgated to illegally occupy the islands in Sindh and Balochistan.

“I am surprised that the federal government knowing that the Sindh government has withdrawn its permission letter has started inviting Expression of Interest for development of the island,” he added.

The ordinance has invited the ire of other political parties, nationalists, writers and civil society activists in Sindh and several protests and rallies have been held calling for its revocation.