KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has strongly criticised the federal government for launching an unrealistic rotation policy (of transfer and posting of bureaucrat and police officials) and approving controversial bills of population census and EVM machine in the joint session of parliament.
The Sindh CM said, “It is a wrong impression that officers of the PAS (Pakistan Administrative Service) and PSP (Police Service of Pakistan) are the employees of the federal government who in fact are employees of Federation and the federal government is legally bound to have a 'meaningful discussion' with the chief minister before transferring or posting any of them from the province.”
He was addressing a press conference after the provincial cabinet meeting on Thursday. On electronic voting machines, the chief minister said when the federal government failed to correctly count 342 people at the joint session of the parliament, it was simply impossible to count millions of people in the polls.
At the outset of the press conference, CM Shah said that the federal government had withdrawn the services of four grade BS-20 PAS and seven PSP officers from Sindh and sent four PAS and eight PSP officers in their place under its rotation policy.
He protested that against 26 sanctioned posts of PSP officers of Grade BS-20, almost 50 per cent or 12 officers were transferred from Sindh. In case of PAS officers, he said against their 67 sanctioned posts, only 30 were working – which means Sindh has a shortage of 37 officers. Similarly, the Sindh government has sanctioned strength of 16 officers of Grade BS-21 against which only four officers are working, he said.
Shah said that without consulting him, the federal government has transferred PAS and PSP officers from Sindh and those from other provinces have been sent to Sindh. The provincial cabinet has rejected the Establishment Division’s transfer orders, he said. Shah asked the Establishment Division not to harass and compel the officers to join their new postings and let them work in Sindh. “Different districts of this province have different dynamics and the officers already working here have experience to deal with the different situations here,” he said, adding if the new officers were posted in different areas, it would create serious issues.
About the census, the CM said his government has serious reservations about the census results. Giving an example of the house count, he said that in KPK over 3.84 million houses were counted. Punjab has 17.1 million, Sindh had 8.58 million and Balochistan has 1.77 million households. He added the KP on average has 7.9 members per house, Balochistan 6.95, Punjab 6.43 and Sindh 5.58, meaning Sindh has the lowest number of family members per house. Quoting a Unicef survey, CM Shah said it has disclosed that the KPK has 7.6 members per house, Balochistan 7.7 members, Punjab 6.43 and Sindh 7.2 members per house. “This shows that Sindh has a population of 620 million. I am surprised that the federal minister [Asad Umar] gave a totally baseless, unfounded and incorrect statement on the floor at the joint session.”
Talking about the EVM machines, Murad Ali Shah said the federal government has failed to operate its electronic Vote Count system installed in the National Assembly; similarly it would be unable to operate its EVMs. In the last general election, the Result Transmission System failed and election results became controversial, he said and added he was surprised that now the PTI government has embarked upon another ‘fishy’ EVM system.
On expats vote, the CM said that his party was not against giving the right of vote to the overseas Pakistanis, but they would have to come here in their constituency to cast their vote. “The families living abroad for the last many years have become nationals there and don’t know the ground realities of the country, so giving them the right to vote from overseas is against the principle of democracy.” Shah said “former president Asif Zardari has rightly pointed out that the beneficiaries of PTI’s expat vote project would be someone else.”
The CM said the provincial cabinet, in order to incentivize the growers and to encourage them to grow more wheat, has decided to fix the support price of wheat at Rs2,200 per 40 kg for season 2021-22. The cabinet also allowed the Excise and Taxation department to rationalize the registration, renewal fees of electric vehicles so that they could easily be registered in the province.