Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah told media persons on Tuesday that he had learnt that the ruling party in the Centre, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on the demand of its ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), had decided to the hold a fresh census in 2023.
The CM, who was accompanied by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, was speaking to media persons at the Quaid’s Mazar, where he laid a floral wreath and offered Fateha.
Murad said his government was ready to hold local bodies elections in the province, but prior to that, constituencies needed to be delineated in light of the 2017 census. However, he added that the Sindh government was firm on its stance that Karachi’s population was undercounted in the census and they had evidence to prove the claim.
“However, the Council of Common Interests’ decision on the 2017 census is still pending, and I have heard that the PTI, on the demands of its coalition partner, the MQM-P, has decided to hold a fresh census in 2023,” he said, further clarifying in reply to a question that under the Constitution of Pakistan constituencies needed to be delineated after every census.
Responding to a question, the CM maintained that the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance, 2020, under which the federal government was to take control of Bhandar and Dingi islands, had lapsed and as such, the issue stood over.
To another question about the control of three hospitals in Karachi, namely Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and National Institute of Child Health, the CM said he had taken up the matter with Prime Minister Imran Khan, in the presence of the Sindh governor, at the Governor House.
“The PM was of the view that the Sindh government was capable of running the hospitals efficiently and admitted that the federal government could not manage them from Islamabad,” Murad said, adding that he had requested the federal government to withdraw its decision of running the three healthcare facilities through a board of governors and let the provincial government retain their administrative control.
When asked about the federal government’s rotation policy, he said an agreement had been reached between the Centre and Sindh government on the transfer or posting of federal government officers in the province.
“Under the agreement, the federal government and the Sindh government must mutually consent to the posting or transfer of a federal government officer here,” he elaborated. “The rotation policy, introduced by the federal government and under which it will be reposting some Police Service Pakistan and District Management Group officers in Centre, will create a shortage of officers in Sindh,” he warned.
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In reply to another question, he brushed aside the impression that he had differences with the Sindh governor. This was also endorsed by the governor.
In relevance to Pakistan Day, observed every year on March 23, the CM commemorated Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and said the father of the nation had envisioned Pakistan so that minorities had equal rights in the country.
“Our minorities have equal rights and opportunities, whereas those in India are suppressed,” he claimed.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2021.