New provinces: Shahbaz backtracks on call for division of Sindh

Condemns attack on PML-N’s office in Karachi.


Faraz Khan/abdul Manan April 26, 2011

LAHORE/ KARACHI:


Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday backtracked from his Sunday’s statement and said that he had not said anything about bifurcating Sindh and making Karachi a separate province.


His earlier statement generated a strong reaction from political forces in Sindh. In an incident which is being linked to the reaction, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) office in Karachi was attacked on Monday.

Sharif, while talking to the media at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, condemned the attack and refuted that he had demanded that Karachi be made a separate province. He clarified that he simply questioned whether Karachi should be made a separate province.

Sharif said that some people had either intentionally or unintentionally tried to quote him out of context when he was simply responding to a question posed to him by the media. He asserted that his statement contained no such demand.

He said that the Pakistan PML-N was not opposed to the creation of a Seraiki province or a Bahawalpur province, however, as a national party, it would decide the issue of setting up of new provinces at the party level and would also decide where else in the country new provinces are to be created and whether or not Karachi should be made a new province.

He said that a debate can be held in parliament in terms of the creation of new provinces, as a two-third majority is needed for the setting-up of new provinces.

He then strongly condemned the attack on the PML-N office in Karachi and demanded that the Sindh government immediately arrest the perpetrators and take stern legal action against them and their patrons.

Unidentified miscreants, apparently belonging to the Sindh Nationalist Party, attacked the PML-N regional office and a PML-N leader’s restaurant in two separate acts of violence in Karachi earlier on Monday.

The police have booked as many as four hundred activists of the nationalist party for their alleged involvement in the attack.

In the first incident, as many as two dozen miscreants targeted the regional office of the PML-N located at Karsaz Road, within the jurisdiction of the Bahadurabad police station.

The incident took place around 2 PM when dozens of unidentified persons arrived at the PML-N regional office and began smashing the furniture and windows.

According to reports, no one was hurt in the incident as there was only a watchman at the office when the miscreants entered. Reacting to Sharif’s statement from the previous day, they yelled out slogans against him, warning that no one would ever be allowed to divide Sindh.

The police have registered FIR No 81/11 against the unidentified persons on behalf of PML-N leader Saleem Zia’s secretary, Ghulam Mustafa. The case was registered under sections 147, 148, 149, 527 and 452 of the Pakistan Penal Code. SHO Mohsin Haider told The Express Tribune that none of those involved in the attack had been arrested, adding that raids for the arrests of the miscreants involved were being carried out.

Sindh National Party chief Ameer Bhambhro while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club denied the allegations that he or his workers were involved in the attack on the PML-N office. He said they were going to protest at the Karachi Press Club against Sharif’s remarks regarding the setting up of new provinces in Sindh. “When our rally reached near Bar B Q Tonight and our workers began chanting slogans against the PML-N, Sardar Rahim’s gunmen opened fire on our rally,” he said, adding that seven workers of his party had sustained bullet injuries and had been shifted to Jinnah Hospital.

“We have called for a strike across Sindh against the division of the province and to protest against the attack on our workers,” he added.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY HAFEEZ TUNIO IN KARACHI



Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2011.

COMMENTS (4)

Yasir | 10 years ago | Reply He shouldn't have named Karachi, but generally it is a good idea to split all of the provinces into smaller provinces for better administration and development.
Naushad Shafkat | 10 years ago | Reply I have never been a supporter of the Mians. But on this issue I am with Mian Shahbaz and I think it is the Media which should be held 100% responsible for all that has happened. Any person who actually hears what Mian Shahbaz said cannot possibly conclude that he called for the separation of Karachi from Sindh by making it a province. No way. The media is just news hungry and splashed a story which had no truth in it. This is an important issue as the integrity of our country is at stake. Where and to whom do we complain as the Most Honourable PCO Chief Justice is busy with 'other' matters?
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