Thursday September 29, 2022

Fawad, Nasir Shah trade barbs

By our correspondents
June 14, 2021

KARACHI: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry Sunday hit out at the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Sindh cabinet, blaming them for "stealing Sindh's water", and said all the powers in Sindh rest with Bilawal House.

In a hard-hitting press conference at the Governor House, the minister said Punjab was not stealing Sindh's water but Bilawal and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and the provincial cabinet were guilty of the crime. "The water never runs short when it comes to Zardari and his sister's lands," alleged Fawad Chaudhry. The minister said the Sindh government has failed to provide basic facilities to people of the province.

“After every five years a person belonging to the PPP is installed in the Chief Minister House as being a rubberstamp as he doesn’t have the decision-making power as the real authority rests with those who don’t sit in Sindh Assembly but are present at Bilawal House,” he said. Fawad alleged that the Zardari family had virtually paralysed the authority of the Sindh Assembly. He said the Sindh government even didn’t have the authority to upgrade Sindh Police as a capable force to maintain law and order in Karachi without the support of the Rangers. He said the Constitution didn’t have any provision for imposing governor rule in the province as making such a demand for Sindh was undemocratic. He, however, urged the Supreme Court to ensure implementation of the Article 140-A of the Constitution for forming empowered local governments in Sindh for development of both rural and urban areas of the province.

Fawad said the Sindh government didn’t constitute the Provincial Finance Commission to pass on the due fiscal resources to the districts for their development and progress. He said that without due implementation of Article 140-A of the Constitution the districts in Sindh wouldn’t get the due fiscal share from the provincial government.

The minister said that Rs1,600 billion to Rs1,800 billion had been transferred to the Sindh government in the last two to three years as the due fiscal share of the province under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award but it seemed that the massive sum of money was being spent nowhere in the province. He said that share of the provinces in the NFC award had been increased by 27 percent in the latest federal budget as now Sindh would get Rs700 billion to Rs750 billion from the centre alone in one year.

Fawad said the Ghotki and Badin towns in Sindh were in bad condition. He said Larkana had been facing worst civic conditions despite the fact that Rs90 billion had been spent on development of the city.

He said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) made largest recoveries under plea-bargain arrangements in the accountability cases belonging to Sindh.

He said it was unfortunate the incumbent Sindh chief minister had been practicing nationalist politics while separating himself from the national-level politics of leaders of his party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. He said that federal government had provided 500MW additional electric supply to Karachi so that the people of the city didn’t face power crisis during summer.

The minister also castigated the leaders of Opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) for opposing the proposal to grant voting rights to the overseas Pakistanis.

Responding to Fawad’s presser, Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah claimed that Fawad wants to become Punjab chief minister as he’s making statements against Asif Ali Zardari only for the sake of his own job.

Nasir Shah said Murad Ali Shah was a very successful and empowered chief executive. He claimed that the federal government was not just upset but also afraid of the capabilities of Sindh CM. He said the federal government had been conspiring against the Sindh CM. He said that federal information minister didn’t have any authority to make Sindh government accountable about its decisions to spend the money given to it under the NFC Award.

Nasir Shah said that such a right only belonged to the Sindh Assembly as the Sindh government was fully answerable to the provincial legislature on this account. He said the federal government had made hostage the Indus River System Authority.

Meanwhile, Nasir Shah said in Geo News programme ‘Naya Pakistan’ that Fawad Chaudhry is not aware about the situation in Sindh and he just comes here to give statements. He said the Sindh has objections over no allocations for Sindh in the federal public sector development programme (PSDP). He said Karachi contributes about 60 percent to the national economy, but the federal budget provides nothing to the mega city.

The Sindh minister said criticism on Sindh Police was unbecoming as police have offered huge sacrifices for law and order. He said the hospitals in Sindh are providing treatment to the people of entire country. He said Sindh developed a lot in the eras of Qaim Ali Shah and Murad Ali Shah. He said performance of the PPP in Sindh is evident from the fact that it is winning all the by-elections in the province.