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December 30, 2018

PTI pumps up drive to deseat Sindh govt

Top Story

December 30, 2018

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has started holding intra-party meetings and contacting allied parties to bring about a change in the Sindh government after appearance of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s name in the JIT report of the money laundering and fake bank accounts case.

The Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Saturday discussed the latest political situation in the province with Governor Imran Ismail. According to media reports, Prime Minister Imran Khan had decided to send Fawad to Sindh to take the party leadership and other allies into confidence on the current political situation. However, there is no formal word from the federal government or the minister himself about his proposed visit to Sindh shortly. The minister was not available for comments.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Media Iftikhar Durrani said after the ‘damning evidence’ against the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the Joint Investigation report, the PPP should consider his replacement. Talking to a group of media persons here, Durrani said the province needed a better chief minister, as the incumbent would be replying to all the things mentioned in the JIT report.

The report said Murad Ali Shah had facilitated Zardari Group and Omni Group as finance minister and then as the chief minister. “The Sindh government was used in carrying out money laundering. It has been clearly mentioned in the JIT report,” he said. He expressed ignorance about some media reports that Prime Minister Imran Khan was sending his envoy — Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain — to Sindh in view of the fast-evolving situation there. “It is not in my knowledge,” he remarked in response to a question. “I have no information about this,” he again said when asked about the indications that the federal government is trying to play its role in the number games in the Sindh Assembly. About the possibility of imposition of the Governor’s Rule in the province, he said: “Democracy has a due process and so has accountability. The PPP should itself think how to go about it.”

“It is just like comparing apples with oranges,” he said when this reporter sought his comments on the PPP leadership’s demand that names of certain PTI ministers and leaders should also be placed on the ECL. About the letter written to the Minister of State for Interior Shahryar Afridi calling for placing names of the PTI ministers and Prime Minister Imran Khan on the ECL, Durrani said it is quite strange that a minister of state is being asked to place name of a federal minister of the same ministry on the ECL list. “This shows their nervousness and I can say that they are following the PML-N script or modus operandi,” he said and recalled how the PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi had filed a case against Imran Khan and he had produced all the relevant record before the Supreme Court.

To a question about the NFC and its share for the erstwhile Fata, Durrani said the government is not going after the 18th Amendment but all political parties had agreed on giving 3 percent from the divisible pool to the former Fata following its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and all the four provinces have to comply with that agreement.

Agencies add: Meanwhile, PTI’s Leader of Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi chaired a consultative meeting with the Grand Democratic Alliance leaders in Karachi to bring a ‘vote of no confidence’ against the chief minister. The alliance’s MPAs also attended the meeting, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) did not attend.

Moreover, PTI’s Haleem Adil Sheikh, who was elected as a member of Sindh Assembly from PS-99 (Karachi East-I), has claimed that following the possible arrest of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, the party might split into many factions. He disclosed that the party’s 20 MPAs are in contact with him for their possible shift to the PTI.

Meanwhile, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail vowed that the PTI would continue to support the accountability process and rule of the law. He rejected the impression that protests or a ‘constitutional war’ could affect the accountability process. Speaking to the media in Sukkur, he said, “I am not aware of the imposition of Governor’s Rule in Sindh,” he said. He said public representatives should work effectively to implement better policies for the general public. He lamented the PPP’s threats and asked which field it was asking to fight in.

The Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also ruled out the possibility of Governor’s Rule in Sindh and demanded that Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah should resign. Talking to journalists in Islamabad, he said the democratic setup would not be wrapped up in the province adding the provincial issues would be resolved through negotiations. He said corruption charges against Asif Ali Zardari are bigger than those faced by the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. He claimed that a forward block is emerging in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) adding that Sharifs had been looting the national wealth for 10 years. Criticising the National Assembly speaker’s decision pertaining to the Public Accounts Committee head, the minister said he will bring thieves to justice.

Meanwhile, responding to the developments, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information Murtaza Wahab said the friends and allies of the ruling PTI are making ignorant comments. Responding to a statement made by Syed Firdous Shamim Naqvi, he said enforcement of Governor’s Rule in the province would be an unconstitutional step. “The PTI does not have any agenda and its claim of bringing an in-house change is hilarious in view of its 31 seats in the assembly.”

Wahab slammed the PTI further, stating that anyone who disagreed with the party will lose their membership."We will set up a tent for anyone who surrounds the CM House," he added.

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