KARACHI: Instead of returning to Pakistan, PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari has once again set up a camp office in Dubai where he is holding meetings with a host of party leaders, including Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
Zardari, who left the country in mid-January this year, has apparently extended his stay in Dubai, creating uncertainty about his plan to contest a by-election in Sindh and permanently return to Pakistan.
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Sources in the party told The Express Tribune that other leaders, who called on Zardari and discussed Sindh-related issues included provincial Transport Minister Syed Nasir Shah and Public Health Engineering Minister Fayyaz Butt.
Former information minister Sharjeel Memon also attended the meetings.
“The meeting mainly focused on the latest situation after the Sindh High Court ruled against 11 advisers and special assistants, including information adviser Maula Bux Chandio, four days ago,” sources said.
They adding that instead of appointing new ministers and advisers, the government was planning to induct the parliamentary secretary and coordinators to run the provincial government’s affairs.
After the adoption of the 18 Amendment, the size of the provincial cabinet could not exceed 11 per cent of the total membership of the Sindh Assembly. The number of ministers, therefore, could not exceed more than 18, but the government was willing to accommodate others to run departments rendered headless in the wake of the court orders.
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“There are around 40 government departments in Sindh. Other than inducting new faces, the government is left with no other option but to merge various departments, thereby limiting the size of the cabinet,” sources said, adding that the government was also considering challenging the SHC decision.
“The government can challenge the decision because there are advisers and special assistants in other provinces, but action is taken only against us,” he said, adding that they had complied with the court judgment, but reserved the right to approach the apex court.
When asked about Zardari’s return home, he said: “He can return whenever he wants,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2017.
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