Qasimabad, one of the four revenue talukas in Hyderabad district, is often described as mini-Sindh because the people living in the taluka hail from all districts of Sindh. Better living conditions, health and education services, and employment and business opportunities have remained the principal drivers behind this inter-provincial migration, bringing the rural folks to this urban town.
However, a recent decision pertaining to Qasimabad, which is reportedly yet to receive conclusive nod of the provincial government, is drawing a backlash from some of Pakistan Peoples Party’s political opponents. It concerns the government’s plan to name one of the two Town Municipal Corporations (TMCs) in Qasimabad – which will function under the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation – after the name of provincial irrigation minister Jam Khan Shoro’s grandfather.
As per the proposal, which the DC has reportedly submitted to the provincial government, the TMC in question will be named Karan Khan Shoro, spreading to more than half part of Qasimabad geographically. Under the new Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Act, 2021, the extended jurisdiction of the HMC will now cover the entire four talukas of Hyderabad, excluding the areas falling under the Cantonment Board Hyderabad.
Previously, the corporation’s limits only covered City and Latifabad talukas while four separate local government authorities functioned in Qasimabad and Hyderabad talukas. The DC has proposed creation of nine TMCs in the HMC including three in City taluka and two each in Latifabad, Qasimabad and Hyderabad talukas.
The authorities wanted to name the said TMC as TMC Nerunkot or TMC Miani. Nerunkot is the historic name of Hyderabad while Miani is the place where the people of Sindh fought a battle against the forces of East India Company on February 17, 1843. But, according to the official sources, the political influence is allegedly at play behind selection of the TMC’s name.
“My father [Rasool Bux Palijo] was a towering political, literary and legal figure. But my grandfathers were common men. Would it be right if after becoming MNA or MPA I name any public place or institution after my grandfathers?” commented Ayaz Latif Palijo, head of Qaumi Awami Tehreek and general secretary of Grand Democratic Alliance.
He found a feudalistic approach in the way half part of Qasimabad is being given the name of Shoro as a tribute. Palijo suggested that instead the names of towering literary, academic and political figures like Haider Bux Jatoi, Shaikh Ayaz, Nabi Bux Baloch, Rasool Bux Palijo or G M Syed should be given to the TMC.
“They are occupying our future by giving names of their family members to the cities, institutions and public places,” said advocate Sajjad Ahmed Chandio, a member of Sindh Bar Council and leader of Awami Tehreek. The Sindh high court on July 24, 2019, had ordered Sindh chief secretary to remove all such names of the family members and replace them with those of the people who made a mark in the history due to their services for the public, art, literature, education and other important walks of life.
The order was given in a petition filed in person by advocate Chandio, who says the order has not been implemented though the court had given the Sindh government only three months. He told The Express Tribune that he is preparing a contempt of court of petition over the matter.
The MQM-P’s MPA Khilji also objected to naming the TMC after Shoro. “Tomorrow if their influence grew they will want to change name of Hyderabad, which is take from name of Hazrat Ali (RA), to someone in their family.”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s leader Advocate Ali Palh, who also recently challenged naming a rural town’s entrance gate in Tando Allahyar district over the name of a local PPP MPA’s relative, also finds the name selection of TMC Shoro as illegal. He also contended that it went against the provisions of the LG Act.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2022.