KARACHI, Feb 23: The Awami National Party is all set to return to the treasury benches in the Sindh Assembly and a formal decision about it is to be taken by the party in the next few days, it emerged on Saturday.
The ANP had parted ways with the coalition government led by the Pakistan People’s Party when the PPP passed the Sindh People’s Local Government Bill 2012.
The other parties in the coalition government, except the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, had also quit the government in protest against the same issue but are not likely to follow in the ANP’s footsteps.
Responding to Dawn queries, ANP Sindh general secretary Bashir Jan said the party had left the provincial government in protest against the controversial local government bill, which it considered compromised Sindh’s interests, but now that the law had been repealed and the old law restored, there was no moral grounds for the ANP to stay in the opposition.
He said that even though the ANP minister had resigned and its assembly members had asked the Sindh Assembly speaker that they be allotted seats with the opposition, the ANP had never tried to create problems for the government in the province as it knew that such a step would benefit the anti-democracy forces. So despite remaining in the opposition, the ANP supported good steps taken by the government and did not oppose the government merely for the sake of opposition.
He said that now with the controversial law having been repealed, there was no justification for the ANP to remain in the opposition. “So the party will, hopefully, rejoin the government in the next few days,” he said. He, however, said a formal decision in that regard would be taken by the party at its meeting to be held in the next couple of days, or as soon as the party’s Sindh chief, Senator Shahi Syed, returned to the city.
Senator Syed is in the federal capital and is also likely to visit the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Answering a question regarding the ministry that the party had held before it quit the government, Mr Jan said ministries were not that important and the party’s decisions were based on principles. He said it was certain that the party would rejoin the treasury benches, but a decision regarding the ministry would be taken at the party meeting. “Anyway, hardly a few weeks’ term remains for the government. Besides, hardly any powers were available to the ANP minister during his tenure,” he said. “There had been a ban on recruitment throughout his tenure, and he was not even given the staff of his choice.”
A joint meeting of the special committee of the PPP and the ANP was held at the Chief Minister’s House on Friday. Agha Siraj Durrani, Ayaz Soomro, Zahid Bhurgari and Rashid Rabbani from the PPP and Rana Gul Afridi, Ameer Nawab and Younus Buneri from the ANP attended it.
The ANP team thanked the provincial government for the revival of the Sindh Local Government Ordinance, 1979 by repealing the SPLGA 2012. Both parties had agreed on many issues and now both parties would present their reports to the leaderships of their respective parties. It was expected that a final decision would be taken within few days.