ISLAMABAD: Turning up the heat on the PPP, the ruling PML-N has decided not only to extend full support to the top officials deputed in Sindh but has also sped up in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) its anti-corruption drive that primarily focuses on alleged graft of the PPP’s last regime in the region.
Apparently, these developments negate the earlier impression of a secret deal between the PPP and the PML-N, reports of which surfaced after return of the PPP’s former minister Sharjeel Memon to Pakistan and release of model Ayyan, Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Dr Asim Hussain.
Sources said the federal government has decided that it will extend complete support to the top officials deputed in Sindh – the PPP’s political powerhouse – on behalf of the Centre. These include inspector general police (IGP), Rangers’ director general and chief secretary.
Imran accuses PPP, PML-N of striking secret deal
Sources in the PM House said after the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday allowed the Sindh IGP Allah Dino Khawaja to continue his duties, the Centre conveyed to the top cop to perform his duties ‘without fear or favour’ as it assured him of its full backing.
Reportedly, this development has panicked the PPP leadership and its provincial government has sought time for a meeting with PM Nawaz Sharif to ‘sort out’ the issues but the request has been declined.
The sources said it has been conveyed to the PPP – in mid-tier leadership contacts between both the sides – that removal of Khawaja from the position of Sindh IGP was not an option since all the stakeholders including security establishment, federal government, media, civil society and general public had put weight behind him while his appointment also had the legal backing from the court.
The PPP stalwart and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah denied that anyone from the PPP had sought time for a meeting with the PM. He said the provincial government had the authority to surrender the IGP’s services to the Centre.
“However, as there is a stay order from the court, it is better not to comment on the issue,” he said.
Shah said during the PPP’s last tenure when the PPP was in power in the Centre, it accommodated the PML-N’s Punjab government and “never interfered by imposing officers because it creates dangerous rift between Centre and provinces.”
PML-N looks to make inroads into PPP’s powerbase
In another linked development on Monday, a crucial meeting between the PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq and the AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider discussed the ongoing accountability drive, which mainly implicates the PPP’s AJK leadership.
In the AJK, the PML-N government has sped up its anti-graft drive that focuses primarily on the alleged corruption in government funds during the PPP’s last government in the semi-autonomous region from July 2011- July 2016.
On January 25, the AJK PM issued an official statement that contained a clear warning for the PPP.
In a statement, PM Haider said he had “initiated ruthless accountability in the AJK to bring to justice to those who have been involved in the loot and plunder of local resources in the last few years, especially under the last PPP government.”
“There will be no revenge against any politician but ruthless accountability is demand of the masses,” said the statement the AJK premier’s office issued during his visit to the UK.
The said statement was issued two months ago but it is only lately that the accountability drive in the AJK has been sped up and the government authorities have been instructed to show ‘no mercy’ in probing corruption, sources told The Express Tribune.
Feeling the heat, the PPP leadership has quietly replaced the PPP’s AJK chapter’s president and former PM Chaudhry Abdul Majeed with Chaudhry Latif Akbar as the party chief in the region. Majeed has been facing serious allegations of mega corruption during his tenure as AJK’s premier.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Haq confirmed having met the AJK PM on Monday but skipped to comment on accountability drive. He said a host of issues were discussed in the moot including steps to ensure good governance in the AJK and India’s human rights violations in held Kashmir.
“Our government wants to ensure good governance wherever we are in power, and fair and transparent accountability is part of this drive,” said the PML-N leader.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ