Sindh refuses to discuss islands issue with Centre

From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday refused to hold talks with the federal government over the matter of Islands ownership until revoking of Pakistan Islands Development Authority Ordinance 2020.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed Governor Sindh Imran Ismail to hold talks with the PPP’s provincial government over the matter after reservations.
“No talks will be held with the federal government until revoking of the ordinance”, the Sindh government has categorically said, adding that the federal government deceived the provincial government of Sindh by issuing an ordinance over the ownership of the Bundal and Buddo Islands.
On August 30, the president had promulgated the ordinance for establishing the Pakistan Islands Development Authority for the “development and management of islands in internal and territorial waters of Pakistan.”
However, the Sindh government on Tuesday withdrew its July 6, 2020 letter in which the Land Utilization Department had consented to the federal government to take custody of both islands.
“That due to this illegal, unconstitutional and malafide act of the Federal Government, the Sindh Cabinet has decided not to engage with the Federal Government for the purpose of developing the Island and consequently the letter dated 06.07.2020 of Government of Sindh, Land Utilization Department is treated as a nullity,” the department said in a letter withdrawing the previous one.
Earlier, Dubbing the Centre’s plans to materialize development projects in the now controversial twin islands off Karachi’s coastline an attack on Sindh government, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto criticized the alleged takeover of islands across Sindh and Balochistan.
In his press conference from Bilawal House, Karachi, accompanied with Chief Minister Sindh and other PPP leadership, Bilawal said their efforts are for the basic human rights of the masses.
He said the federal government via a presidential ordinance overnight, attempted to seize the islands that belong to the province and fisherfolk and that if the same practice is continued, they will tomorrow take away Umar Kot and Khairpur via a presidential ordinance, too.
The PPP chair claimed that the fishermen are already angry with the government’s policies on fishing and that islands are there home which is being taken away from them. Responding to the queries on the opposition’s movement against the incumbent government, he said that using the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) the party will raise its voice.
He announced that the PDM will carry out political processions in Gujranwala and Karachi on Oct 16 and 18 respectively. Bilawal said that government owing to its ‘grudges’ against political forces have resorted to vindictive politics.
Alleging the Centre of discrimination, he said that the province was not getting its share of gas while each passing day there’s an update of hiked energy fares.