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October 22, 2019

CM to write to PM on Sindh’s issues after being refused audience: Ghani


October 22, 2019

Sindh’s chief minister will write to Pakistan’s prime minister to highlight the issues of Karachi and the rest of the province after the former was refused an audience with the latter during the premier’s visit to the metropolitan city.

“Both prime minister and provincial chief minister are constitutional positions, and the former should have met the latter to find out Sindh’s issues and ensure their redressal,” Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani told the media at the provincial assembly on Monday.

Ghani claimed that PM Imran Khan had actually come to Karachi to end differences between the officials and office-bearers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) city chapter.

He said the provincial government did not ask the federal administration for funds as charity, adding that if the Centre did not provide Sindh’s funds on time, the provincial government will continue to raise the issue in parliament as well as at other forums.

The information minister said the PTI people should conduct a post-mortem examination of Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi’s most trumpeted clean-up campaign in Karachi. Ghani said the provincial government was cleaning the city and it was also monitoring the performance of the Chinese companies assigned the task.

He said the mandate provided to the recently constituted committee comprising members of the business community by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman was contradictory to Section 33-C of the NAB Ordinance.

He added that Section 33-C authorised the NAB chairman to form various committees, but this section did not give him the power to award a mandate to a committee to decide who to prosecute or who to set free.

The information minister said Section 33-C was completely different, according to which any committee formed by the NAB chairman can give recommendations to the watchdog’s chief in relation to bringing improvements in the rules and regulations of the ordinance or suggest the means and ways to create awareness among the public.

He said the courts and the Pakistan Army having their own mechanism of accountability had already been exempted from investigations under the NAB ordinance, while the watchdog’s chairman kept on ensuring that bureaucrats work on a daily basis without any fear of NAB, and now the business community has also been exempted from accountability through forming a committee.

Ghani said that at present it seemed that NAB had a mandate to investigate only those politicians who belong either to the Pakistan Peoples Party or to other opposition parties, because politicians belonging to the ruling PTI were out of the purview of the watchdog. He said the committee of the business community members set up by NAB was illegal and aimed at controlling them.

Responding to a question, the minister said that even if the CM and the PM did not like each other, they should meet because they both had constitutional positions. He said the province and the Centre should stay in touch with each other.

‘No answers’

The Sindh chief minister’s law and environment adviser said on Monday that the CM will definitely comply whenever the prime minister calls him for a meeting.

Barrister Murtaza Wahab was talking to the media at the provincial assembly. His statement came after PM Imran Khan visited Karachi but did not meet CM Syed Murad Ali Shah. Wahab said that whenever a PM called the CM, they went to meet them, but the practice is no more being observed as the CM is not being invited to the meetings during the PM’s visit to the city. “Perhaps because the PM doesn’t have answers to the CM’s questions and so the former doesn’t want to face the latter.”

He said that it was high time that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) starts doing practical work instead of merely talking because those who merely criticise could not deliver. “I’m quite hopeful that during the PM’s visit to Karachi, his party’s [the PTI’s] leaders will definitely question him regarding the fate of his Rs162 billion development package for Karachi.”

He said the PTI’s leaders should also question the PM regarding his announcement of establishing a federally funded public university in Hyderabad and also about his promise to construct a state-of-the-art hospital in Thar. The adviser said the Sindh government had been fulfilling its responsibilities regarding disposal of garbage in the city.

He said that 464,390 tonnes of waste had been lifted from the six districts of the city under the provincial government’s clean-up campaign that lasted for 30 days. He said the drive had been conducted in cooperation with the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board. He expressed gratitude to the people of Karachi for supporting the government’s campaign.

Wahab said the provincial government under its clean-up drive also lifted waste that had been left unattended in the city in the aftermath of the campaign conducted earlier by Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi.

He said that a temporary waste transfer station had been established in Sharafi Goth for the Sindh government’s clean-up campaign, adding that the locality would be restored to its original form now that the drive had come to its conclusion.