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January 24, 2021

CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah and federal minister Ali Zaidi locked in war of words

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January 24, 2021

KARACHI: The Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, sent a formal letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan about the alleged insulting behaviour of Federal Minister Ali Zaidi in the last meeting of Karachi Transformation Committee held at the CM House the previous week while Ali Zaidi, responding to the letter, said the letter in question showed mala fide intent and arrogance of the Sindh CM and revealed that no movement on the ground had taken place on Karachi's basic civic issues.

The CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah wrote: "I wish to state as that as citizens, politicians and holders of important Constitutional offices, it is our duty to conduct ourselves in a manner which is respectful not only towards people but also the public office we hold and represent. Through our actions, we must always exhibit conduct which can be followed and exemplified by others.

"That based on our meeting of September 2020, a development plan for Karachi was announced. It was in this context a committee was also constituted, comprising three representatives each of the federal and provincial governments. The committee, which also included Zaidi, was tasked with the issue namely to remove bottlenecks which come in the way of development projects in Karachi, especially focusing on better coordination between the federal and Sindh government (despite all political differences).

"That on January 16, 2021, another meeting of the committee took place at the Chief Minister's House, Karachi. However, towards the end of the meeting, Zaidi acted in a hostile and belligerent manner in the presence of all the members of the committee towards the undersigned which though warranted an immediate response but for the sake of the committee's overlying objective as well as the office that the undersigned holds, Zaidi's unruly behaviour, which under no stretch of imagination can be deemed as one expected from a federal minister, was ignored. That this is clearly not the first time that Zaidi has shown such arrogance and belligerence at public forums, which is unbecoming of any citizen let alone a federal minister.

He claimed that through this letter, he was registering his protest against Zaidi's behavior "expecting that your office will take some action and in future, maturity (to some extent), inter alia, will be seen as merit for appointments at such high positions."

In response to CM Sindh's letter to PM Khan, Federal Minister Ali Haider Zaidi has also written a letter in response.

The letter reads, “Sir, I want to state on record that the accusations levelled against me by CM Sindh of unruly behavior and of acting in a hostile and belligerent manner in the meeting of the Committee on the Karachi development plan, show a clear mala fide intent. I also wish to register my strong protest on the tone and tenor of his letter, which shows his arrogance and disrespect for the Honorable Prime Minister's office as well as towards federal ministers.

"We are part of the committee constituted to oversee the Karachi development plan and it is our duty not only to deliver tasks assigned to us in a timely manner but also to seek reasons for delays and ask for timelines for completion of various parts of this development plan.

"At the end of the meeting, I reminded CM Sindh yet once again to fulfill his commitment for the devolution of institutions such as Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB), Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) to the divisional and district levels and to include this in the minutes of the meeting along with a timeline for accomplishing these tasks. He repeatedly refused to consider this despite my repeating the request to him three times. Every time his response was I am not answerable to you. The fact is that I was not there in my private capacity but representing the Federation and frankly he is answerable to the members of the committee, especially on initiatives where the Federation is undertaking the project in terms of financial and ministerial support. In addition, I am an elected MNA from Karachi, the city where the development project is being undertaken. So, CM Sindh was duty bound to give me the answers, I was seeking.

"The CM Sindh had committed to devolving relevant institutions to the divisional levels in various discussions over the last six months but nothing has moved on it so far. He consistently dodges the discussion of devolution that is imperative for a metropolis like Karachi and other divisions of Sindh.

"So his accusations are merely an attempt to evade accountability on the delays he and his government are indulging in deliberately. The hypocrisy and incompetence of his government for over a decade has nothing to show except loot and plunder. The Federal Government has gone the extra length to help him improve the infrastructure of Karachi and assist in the development of Sindh — a province that continues to bleed financially due to enormous corruption and suffers neglect at the hands of the provincial PPP government.

"No movement on the ground has taken place on these basic civic issues. Instead, the CM Sindh has kept the committee simply talking to hide the utter incompetence or malevolence of the Sindh government.

"It is not the responsibility of the federal government or its agencies to continuously undertake these civic tasks while the Sindh Government continues to vacillate on its responsibilities and evade what it is required to do," he said.