KARACHI: Members of the Sindh cabinet on Tuesday urged Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif not to build a controversial power plant on the Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal.
The issue was discussed at a reception given by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah in honour of his counterpart from Punjab. Officials told The Express Tribune that some PPP ministers approached Chief Minister Sharif and urged him to address their genuine grievances. Sharif is learnt to have assured them of amicably resolving all problems and invited them to Punjab for further discussions.
Later, Sharif Sharif told reporters at the Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum that a delegation of the Sindh government would visit Punjab to discuss the link canal issue. Referring to incidents of target killings in Balochistan, he urged Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani to take notice of the situation and said that the matter of targeting people from Punjab should be investigated. Sharif reminded reporters that his party had expressed reservation over the renaming of the NWFP as Khyber -Pakhtunkhwa.
“Our worst fears have come true…There have been riots in the Hazara division,” he added. He said the demands of the people of Hazara division should be reviewed. Earlier, he held a meeting of the PML-N’s provincial organising committee at the Punjab House.Insiders said several members from Sindh protested over the attitude of the party’s local leadership.
Talking to The Express Tribune, president of the PML-N’s women’s wing Sorat Thebo said: “Many senior members of the party have been ignored by the (party’s) local leadership… We took up this issue at the meeting.” Some party members are also said to have criticised the senior leadership for issuing a statement calling for the creation of another province in Sindh. They said that people like Siddiqul Farooq and Zafar Iqbal Jhagra should avoid speaking on sensitive issues.
According to APP, the Punjab chief minister said that the 18th Amendment and the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award were major achievements made possible by democracy, adding that they showed that there was “national cohesion, understanding and unity on key issues”. Pir Mazharul Haq, Agha Siraj Durrani, Jam Mehtab Daher, Ayaz Soomro, Manzoor Wassan and Rafiq Engineer were among those who attended the reception.
Stressing the need for national unity, Mr Sharif said: “We are all equals, but Syed Qaim Ali Shah is my elder brother…I have great respect for him.” The Sindh chief minister said all provinces “will continue to show positivity to get rid of long pending problems”. The Punjab chief minister is reported to have said that the issue of the power plant would be solved through mutual consultations just as the matter of Chashma-Jhlum Link Canal had been resolved.
He said that Sindh and Punjab governments should initiate joint venture power projects to overcome the energy crisis. Addressing the PML-N’s convention at the Punjab House, Mr Sharif praised workers for for rendering sacrifices during the “black Musharraf era”. He said that people who had betrayed the party would not be given any post. “If they want to rejoin the party, they can come back, but they will have to stand in the last row.” PML-N’s provincial chief Syed Ghous Ali Shah also addressed the party workers.