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November 15, 2019

Opposition leader’s electoral challenge to CM causes furore in PA


November 15, 2019

A furore was witnessed in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday after Leader of the Opposition Firdous Shamim Naqvi challenged Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to contest a by-election from the former’s constituency to verify the latter’s claim that the victory of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the recent poll in Dadu was due to the Sindh government’s performance.

Naqvi, who belongs to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, proposed that he and the CM both resign as MPAs and contest against each other from the former’s constituency.

“The chief minister of Sindh has said that he has won this [Dadu] election on the basis of performance. I do challenge him that he should resign and contest election from my constituency.”

The opposition leader made these remarks after the CM spoke in the House to congratulate the PPP’s new MPA from Dadu, Saleh Shah Jilani, after he took oath as the lawmaker. Jilani returned successful in the recently held by-election in the constituency of PS-86 Dadu.

Naqvi’s challenge, however, did not please the ruling party’s lawmakers and supporters in the visitors’ gallery who had come to attend the oath-taking of the new MPA. The PPP MPAs and supporters started to shout slogans to protest against Naqvi’s remarks.

“The state of education and hospitals in the province indicates well your performance,” said the opposition leader as he responded to the earlier speech by the CM. Naqvi congratulated the newly elected lawmaker of the PPP but he also claimed that recent by-poll in Dadu was not fair.

As the opposition leader made such remarks, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani asked him to sit as he had congratulated the newly elected MPA. The speaker also advised the opposition leader to wait for the next general elections to find out whether people were satisfied with the government’s performance.

Naqvi’s remarks also prompted Sindh Information and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani to rise from his seat and say that the mind of the opposition leader was rife with negative thinking. The information minister challenged Naqvi to contest one such by-poll against him.

“What to talk of the chief minister, let me tender resignation from my constituency and Firdous Shamim sahib should resign from his seat and contest against me,” said Ghani. Earlier speaking in the house, the CM said that it was next to impossible to defeat the PPP in any electoral contest in the province whenever elections were held on a fair basis.

He claimed that whenever the PPP faced defeat in the province in any electoral contest, unfair means were used against his party and he had evidence for it. He said the people of Dadu had always sided with the PPP as in every election they voted in its favour. “Even a dictator like Zia had to leave Dadu district in a hurry,” he said.

The CM expressed the hope that the newly elected MPA would follow the footsteps of his deceased father Ghulam Shah Jilani in serving the people of his constituency. He went on to say that the people of Dadu had voted thrice more in favour of the PPP’s candidate in the recent by-poll compared to the 2018 general elections, which showed their full confidence in the performance of the provincial government.

All the opposition political parties in the province had joined hands against the PPP’s candidate in the recent by-poll but they had to face defeat, the CM remarked.

Illegal constructions

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Pakistan Raana Ansar presented a call-attention notice on actions taken by the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) against illegal constructions in the province.

Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government Department Saleem Baloch said the SBCA had conducted 600 operations against illegal constructions in the province. Later, the House was adjourned till Monday, November 18, due to lack of quorum, which was pointed out by opposition legislators.