Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Sunday said the federal government, after working democratically for a year and half, has now unleashed a policy of ‘confrontation and political victimisation’.
“The federal government was working democratically in the beginning and gave space to provincial governments to work freely in implementation of their policies and manifestoes,” he said while speaking to reporters at the Chief Minister’s House. “But I am sorry to say, it has started a policy of victimisation.”
“Without any solid or tangible evidence, it [the federal government] has started harassing our ministers, government officers and elected representatives,” Shah said, adding that despite this, the centre had failed to find any proof of corruption against them.
He gave example of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Mir Munawar Talpur who, he said, had never held any government office at the federal and provincial levels during the PPP government tenures. “Despite this, a baseless reference has been filed against Talpur, who is an extremely polite person and mostly lives in his village to serve his people.”
To a question, Shah said he was thankful to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for inviting him along with his delegation to Islamabad and listened to him patiently. He said the premier agreed with him on most of the issues.
“Pointing to [Interior Minister] Chaudhry Nisar, the prime minister said he [Nisar] would visit me within a week to redress all our grievances,” the chief minister said. “However, I have been waiting since and he has not contacted me directly.”
Shah claimed his government restored law and order in the province through the joint efforts and sacrifices of police and paramilitary Rangers. Enumerating his government’s achievements, he said the PPP-led Sindh government created more 150,000 job opportunities, developed road network all over the province and established nine universities.
“We also introduced public-private partnership concept and launched mega-projects. We are also going to celebrate Sindh government-Engro Coal-fired Power Plant,” he said.
Shah said his government did not need ‘certificates’ from our opponents. “But we are answerable to the Almighty, our people and to our leadership,” he said.
To a question about the anti-government grand alliance announced on Saturday by the Sindh’s opposition parties, he said it was not a new thing and that similar alliances had always been formed against the PPP. “But people of this province have always rejected them.”
He said he had not expected such thing from Pir Sahab Pagara, the head of the alliance. “He calls me ‘uncle’ and then leads such alliances, which without any solid argument to criticise my government,” he said.
Responding to Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leader and Karachi’s mayor-elect Waseem Akhtar’s comment regarding shifting of funds from Karachi to Dubai, he said he was surprised by this ‘absurd statement’.
“If I retaliate to him in the same coin, he will not be able to answer. His statement is baseless and we have served Karachi and its people selflessly,” he said.
He said Sindh government was paying salaries to a huge number of Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and water board employees, appointed during the MQM’s tenure. Shah said his government constructed flyovers in Karachi and had always financially supported the local bodies without any discrimination.
“Presently, more than Rs42 billion worth development works are going on in Karachi but even then those who [MQM] has always been in government are criticising the Sindh government,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2016.