Karachi at night, Shutterstock
Karachi Image Credit: Shutterstock

Karachi: The marathon protest outside the Sindh Assembly for the past 28 days has come to an end after the protesting Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the force behind the agitation, reached a deal with the Sindh government in the early hours of Friday.

The agreement was reached just before the JI threatened to block five main highways of Karachi as its new strategy to further its agitation. The threat was highly concerning for the Sindh government and law-enforcement agencies as it could worsen the law and order situation in Karachi at the time when many international cricket players are present in the country to participate in the Pakistan Super League.

The JI started its protest sit-in on the evening of December 31, 2021 against the adoption of the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Act-2021, which according to the opposition political parties in Sindh weakened the powers of municipal authorities in the province especially that of Karachi’s elected mayor.

Earlier, the Sindh government held a few rounds of talks with the JI leaders to convince the Opposition party to end its sit-in but the negotiations remained inconclusive.

Sindh Local Government Minister, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, led the negotiating team of the Sindh government, which finally convinced the JI to end its marathon protest.

Both the provincial Local Government Minister and JI Karachi chief, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, read out the salient features of the agreement, reached between them, before participants of the sit-in.

The Local Government Minister told the participants that the Sindh government had agreed to return control of the health and educational institutions to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.

Karachi’s mayor will be the chairman of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board and also of the city’s solid waste management agency. The government will be bound to hold the local government polls in the province within 90 days after the term of the municipalities comes to an end.

The Sindh government will constitute the provincial Finance Commission within 30 days after local government polls in the province to transfer financial resources to the municipalities.