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October 22, 2020

Centre, Sindh face off on police, islands

Top Story

October 22, 2020

Centre, Sindh face off on police, islands

KARACHI: There was volatility in the air on Wednesday as the Centre and Sindh government once again faced off on the politically-sensitive issues of islands off the coast of Karachi and tendering of leave applications by dozens of senior police officers in the wake of alleged humiliation meted out to the IGP for resisting filing an FIR against PML-N leader Capt (retd) Safdar Awan.

While addressing the Sindh Assembly on the issue of lodging of a criminal case and arrest of PML-N leader Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah claimed he was threatened that the Sindh government would be overthrown.

Addressing the Sindh MPs, the chief minister said that he was maintaining silence on a number of issues and could not divulge their details because of the ongoing investigation into the incidents. He said in our culture and traditions, a guest is held in extreme reverence and that is more important than their government. The chief minister said that the land of Sindh is known for its hospitality. “Our guests were arrested in a crude and an uncivilised manner,” he said.

But Shah said the attitude of a federal minister during the entire episode was threatening and he gave the impression as if Sindh was the colony of the federal government. He said the PTI leaders brazenly misbehaved with the police official while lodging a criminal case against the PML-N leader. He said they used threats and pressure tactics to compel the police to lodge a case against the rival politician. He charged that the PTI leaders committed utter illegality by making a proclaimed offender lodge a criminal case against rival politician.

He claimed that the PTI leaders got upset with the tumultuous success of the Pakistan Democratic Movement public meeting in Karachi on October 18. The chief minister said that the PTI leaders had threatened to make the Inspector General of Sindh, Police, and Sindh chief secretary appear before the federal cabinet if the criminal case was not lodged by the police.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz said the prime minister was a 'Malang,' for the simplicity with which he dresses and lives in his own house unlike the past rulers with highly sophisticated lifestyles. He said that if put together even ‘10 opposition leaders', they are no match to the prime minister, who was blessed with courage and determination to serve the masses selflessly and with sincere devotion. He criticised both Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz for being the products of hereditary politics. Passing a jibe, he said Maryam tries to act like Benazir Bhutto “who was a highly educated person and a classic lady." Addressing the PML-N leader, Shibli said: "You stand nowhere near her. You can’t become a leader by wearing expensive dresses, shoes and make-up.

“What is the status of Bilawal Bhutto who similarly inherited the party's leadership and now talks about his big stature. What do you have to show to the people in terms of performance or governance despite being in the government for long in Karachi and Sindh; people are suffering from hunger, poverty and destitution," he noted.

The minister asserted: “The prime minister is determined to purge Pakistan of the ‘Banarsi Thugs’ who have ganged up to spread anarchy, confusion and destroy the national economy but that would never happen and the prime minister would clean the country of hereditary politicians.”

Shibli went on to say that there were forces of evil and those of good in the country; the opposition represented the evil led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the force of good was led by Imran Khan.

Referring to the opposition, he charged them with hollowing out the country. He said: ‘Banarasi Thugs’ are now once again coming together to convince the people of resolving their problems they never even attempted to resolve in the past 40 years. They had motorcycles but now with the ill-gotten money, they own expensive cars, wrist watches worth millions of rupees, and talk of compassion for the poor. The opposition is only bounded together fearing accountability,” he maintained.

The federal minister claimed that the time was not far when they would be held for their misdeeds and would be put behind the bars. He alleged that during their tenures, they had played havoc with the institutions and asked how Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s personal airline prospered while the PIA which he headed was destroyed. He said it was because of the opposition, that Pakistan was being ridiculed all over the world. He also questioned whose narrative were they promoting by confronting the institutions.

Shibli felt saddened by the recent incidents in Karachi, alleging that the opposition put in their best to spoil the situation further. He said: "The PPP has dragged every institution, including police, into politics. They recruited criminals in the police and created a circus in Sindh while Safdar Awan rioted at the Mazar-e-Quaid.”

Adding his bit, the Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said there is no doubt that officers of the Sindh Police proceeded on leave on the directions of Bilawal House. In a tweet, he said the conspiracies and efforts to let down institutions will have to be thwarted. Had the police not gone on leave at the behest of the Bilawal House, then the reaction would have come like this when they used to line-up before Omni walas. The matters will be unfolded when this tale moves ahead.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed a resolution demanding the federal government to immediately withdraw the presidential ordinance promulgated to establish the Pakistan Islands’ Development Authority. It also passed another resolution eulogizing the services and sacrifices of the Sindh Police and demanding logical conclusion of the inquiry ordered by the COAS into an untoward incident involving the IGP.

The resolution stated that the ordinance had unlawfully and unconstitutionally attempted to transfer the control of two islands off the Karachi’s coast to the federal government though the Sindh government owns them in line with the Constitution.

The resolution was moved by PPP MPA Mahmood Alam Jamote, representing the coastal areas of Karachi, whose fishermen could be adversely affected by the development of cities on those islands as planned by the federal government.

While speaking on the resolution, MPA Jamote said that any development on these two islands should take place as per the aspirations of the fishermen of the area as the islands were vital for their livelihood.

The Sindh-based Grand Democratic Alliance which is a coalition partner of the PTI government in the federal cabinet supported the resolution. PTI’s MPA Shahar Yar Khan Shar from Ghotki also supported the resolution. Shahar Yar Khan Shar didn’t join the fellow PTI lawmakers in the walkout and remained on the benches in the house and also supported the resolution presented from the treasury benches.

Speaking on the occasion, the PTI’s MPA Khan Shar said that Sindh was their motherland and that was why he was supporting the resolution. He said that he would support the move to protect the territorial waters of the motherland. He said that he would be pressurised by his party to withdraw his statement but he wouldn’t take back his words as he is a son of the soil.

Before presentation of the resolution in the house, the lawmakers of opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement had walked out of the house as the legislators of MQM were denied permission to present a resolution against the objectionable remarks of the leader of Pahtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Mahmood Khan Achkzai.

Speaking on the resolution, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that nobody should doubt their love and devotion to their motherland as they were ready to sacrifice their lives for it. He said that they would not care about their government when it came to the protection of the motherland. He categorically declared that his government had not issued any no-objection certificate to the federal government to develop the islands. He also ruled out any talks with the federal government till it withdrew the unconstitutional presidential ordinance.

He said that after the ordinance was made public, the Sindh cabinet declared the islands as the provincial property. He said even if the federal government withdrew the ordinance, it seemed very difficult that talks could be held with them given their obvious malafide stance over this issue. The Sindh chief minister also criticised the federal government for disbursing Rs 65 billion less from the Federal Divisible Pool in the last three months.

Later, the Sindh Assembly also passed a unanimous resolution paying tributes to the Sindh Police over its sacrifices and selfless duty and expressed its concern over the incident related to the lodging of a criminal case and arrest of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Captain Muhammad Safdar, during which the IGP was humiliated and ridiculed.

The resolution moved by MPA of PPP Dr Sohrab Sarki demanded that the investigation announced by the Government of Sindh and the Chief of Army Staff, be brought to their logical conclusion, so those responsible could be identified and subsequently penalised.