KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has given assurances that, in line with the Sindh cabinet's decision, no katcha houses would be razed during the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi.
The statement came while the CM spoke to the media after attending an event held by the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women, in observance of National Women's Day, on Wednesday.
He said that the Supreme Court had also been requested to give the provincial government time to make alternative arrangements for the people who would be affected by the removal of encroachments across the province.
On a different note, the CM maintained that despite him proposing five names for the appointment of the new Sindh inspector general of police (IGP), on Prime Minister Imran Khan's advice, the matter was still hanging in the balance. However, he added, "I am sure the PM will appoint the new IGP from among the proposed names in the larger interest of the province."
Responding to a question, the CM clarified that he, after consulting the cabinet, had first suggested three names for the appointment of a new IGP, as asked by the PM; later, the PM Secretariat asked for two more names, which too were sent. He expressed hope that the PM would soon give the approval for the appointment of the new IGP.
The CM said that the decision to remove the IGP was made by the cabinet and not just him.
"Now the federal government should honour the provincial cabinet's decision and give approval for the appointment of a new IGP," he insisted.
Deduction of funds
Responding to a question, the CM claimed that the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) had directed the Sindh Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control Department to collect withholding tax on its behalf without obtaining the department's consent. He complained that while the provincial department continued to "serve FBR", the latter failed to acknowledge the former's efforts and unilaterally deducted funds from the provincial government's account. Moreover, FBR did not reimburse the amount even after multiple requests, he added.
The CM said that the government had decided to take up the matter before the cabinet, which would decide whether or not the excise and taxation department would continue to collect withholding tax on FBR's behalf.
He further alleged that "FBR is not just targeting Sindh but other smaller provinces too, from whose accounts it is deducting funds." Saying that the other provinces also made a hue and cry over the FBR's move, the CM underlined, "I will keep fighting for the rights of Sindh and will get back the [province's] money."
Responding to another question, the CM said that Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leaders were standing strong in the face of injustice meted out to them.
Elaborating further, he assured that PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), adding that he was summoned by the anti-graft watchdog whenever he raised public issues. "But he is a strong leader and such notices cannot pressure him to stop raising issues of public interest," the CM said.
He said that former president Asif Zardari "languished in jail" for over 10 years but was not proved guilty of any offence. Stating that the cases were registered on the basis of political rivalries, the CM maintained that likewise, Bilawal was also served a notice by NAB due to political rivalries. He also mentioned that Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur were granted bails on the basis of merit.