Thursday February 22, 2024

Efforts to roll back 18th Amendment to be resisted: Murtaza Wahab

By Our Correspondent
January 20, 2019

KARACHI: Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information and Law Murtaza Wahab has said any effort of the failed government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to roll back the 18th Amendment under the guise of the recent SC’s decision would be strongly resisted by the Sindh government and people

He said it is strange that Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, nominated in the JIT’s report in the alleged bank scam, belong to Sindh but the case is being heard in Islamabad even though the National Accountability Bureau is functioning in the province too.

Murtaza Wahab was addressing a news conference at the Sindh Assembly building. He read out a paragraph of an SC order issued on January 7, 2018. It stated: “As far as the recommendations relating to Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Co-Chairman PPP and Mr Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh, are concerned, the learned counsel for the JIT has frankly conceded that the material against the said persons may need reexamination to arrive at the correct conclusion.”

Wahab said the Supreme Court’s decision endorsed the Sindh government’s stance. He added the ineffective government of the PTI has nothing productive to do for the public so it is indulging in vendetta, adding the federal government neither has a policy nor any vision. The PTI government does not have any solution to its self-created crises, including inflation, loadshedding of gas and electricity, water crises, health issues and economic issues, the information adviser said.

Wahab remarked that the Pakistan People's Party has always believed in the independence of institutions rather than point-scoring being exhibited by the leaders of the PTI.

Wahab said the Sindh government has decided to file a review petition with the Supreme Court regarding the latter’s decision to hand three health facilities in Karachi, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH), over to the federal government.

The information adviser was of the view that the three hospitals were devolved to the provincial government in accordance with the 18th Constitutional Amendment. The devolution of health sector to the provincial government was done in the best interest of the people, he said. Wahab maintained that the Sindh government is providing exemplary services to the people through the JPMC, NICVD and NICH. Not only the people of Sindh but also the people from all over the county benefited from the services of these health units that worked under the Sindh government, he said.

The total annual budget of the NICVD at the time of its devolution was a mere Rs400 million, Wahab claimed, adding the institute’s budget for the next year was Rs12 billion, which showed how much the provincial government had improved it.

According to the information adviser, at the time of its devolution, the NICVD only existed in Karachi; however, after it was upgraded by the Sindh government over the years, the health facility had opened its satellite centres in Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Mithi, Larkana, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Sehwan and Sukkur. Wahab also shed light on improvements introduced at the JPMC by the provincial government. He mentioned the cyberknife treatment facility and the cancer research at the hospital where patients from all over the country were being attended free of charge.

The adviser said it was surprising that those claiming to have the ownership of Karachi are silent on the transfers of the JPMC, NICVD and NICH. The only purpose of the 18th amendment is to strengthen the Federation by strengthening the provinces, he added.