Naqvi steps down as PA opposition leader

Barbs fly over delays in transport schemes; minister says city to get 250 new buses this year

Hafeez Tunio January 09, 2021
A file photo of Sindh Assembly. PHOTO: PPI


The opposition leader in Sindh Assembly, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, resigned from the post on Friday, amid reports of differences among members of his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in Sindh.

Naqvi had announced tendering his resignation, along with an apology, earlier too, in September last year, after he had criticised the PTI over its failure to deliver. However, the matter was resolved within the party and he continued as the opposition leader in the provincial assembly till yesterday (Friday). Speaking to the media outside the Sindh Assembly, Naqvi confirmed that he had sent his resignation as the opposition leader to the PTI leadership and would formally submit it to the assembly secretariat soon. He, however, will continue to be a member of the provincial assembly. "I have decided to resign for certain reasons, which will become apparent with the passage of time," he said. Naqvi also refuted the reports of differences among his party's members.

"I am a founding member of the PTI and still stand by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the party's manifesto. All [PTI] MPAs are united under the party's leadership," he remarked. The PTI leader further stated that other MPAs in the party would decide who was to be made the new opposition leader. According to sources in the PTI, who requested anonymity, the party's leadership was unhappy with Naqvi's performance in the provincial assembly. "We need aggressive opposition in the assembly and Naqvi sahib failed to live up to our expectations," said a senior PTI lawmakers, who asked not to be named. The lawmaker maintained that Naqvi had little idea about governance and the dynamics of politics in Sindh, as he came from the construction sector.

"Now, the party leadership has decide to appoint him as the focal person to look after the federal government's schemes that are to be launched in Sindh," he added. On reports of PTI members considering Haleem Adil Sheikh, who is currently the parliamentary leader of the PTI in the Sindh Assembly, as the new opposition leader, the lawmaker claimed, "Soon after the opposition leader's resignation is accepted, the PTI, along with other opposition members from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, will nominate Sheikh as new leader of the opposition." It has also been reported that the PTI is considering MPAs Khurram Sher Zaman, Dr Seema Zia and Bilal Ghaffar as Sheikh's replacement after making him the opposition leader. When contacted, Sheikh said he was out of town and had no idea about any such development. "Naqvi sahib is a senior leader and we have full trust in his abilities," he said, disarming the reports of rifts in the PTI.


Earlier, during question answers at the Sindh Assembly session, the members of opposition parties criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led Sindh government, saying that it had failed to start a single transport scheme in the province. "Why has the government failed at establishing a proper transport system in Karachi, as well as other districts of Sindh?" questioned GDA MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi. As she engaged in a heated argument with PPP's Sharjeel Inam Memon, the latter said Abbasi better asked question than delivering an entire speech on the issue. Jamal Siddiqui of the PTI also criticised Sindh Transport Minister Awaid Qadir Shah, accusing him of making the false promise of giving the province a new transport system on the floor of the house.

"The minister spends most of his time in Sukkur rather paying attention to his actual job of running [the transport] department," Siddqui remarked. In response, Shah said the PTI lawmaker had launched a personal attack against him instead of asking a question. He then informed the assembly that his department had shifted terminals out of the city on court orders. Saying that an intra-city bus project was under consideration, he added that the department would initiate a project to introduce 25 diesel hybrid buses on the road. At this, PTI's Arsalan Taj retorted, "Not a single penny has been spent on transport schemes." When another PTI lawmaker, Saeed Afridi, enquired about the completion of the intra-city bus project, the transport minister said the summary for the release of funds for the scheme had been sent to the chief minister. He assured that 250 new buses would be introduced on Karachi's road this year and that two transport schemes would be initiated in Karachi in 2021.

Call attention notices

Besides, Sindh heath department parliamentary secretary Siraj Qasim Soomro informed the assembly that 58 doctors were available at Qatar Hospital, which, he said, had stateof-the-art healthcare facilities. Regarding new appointments at the hospital and neglecting local persons for posts in the heath sector, Soomro assured that local candidates would be given priority for low cadre jobs. He was responding to a calling attention notice moved by PTI MPA Adeel Shahzad, who said the health department had filled vacanct posts at Qatar Hospital for the past 13 years. Besides, PPP MPA Marvi Rashdi's adjournment motion on the issue of medical tests was approved for discussion. The assembly will discuss the issue on Wednesday.



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