The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to grant MPA Shazia Atta Marri parliament seat vacant following the death of Fauzia Wahab.
Shazia, who has served as Sindh Information Minister twice, currently holds the power portfolio in the Sindh cabinet. She is considered among members close to President Asif Ali Zardari.
Provincial Election Commissioner Sono Khan Baloch told The Express Tribune that PPP members Shazia and Munira Shakir were on the party’s priority list, which was submitted to the Election Commission.
Baloch said since Shazia is member of the Sindh Assembly, her consent is necessary for her to become an MNA. “When [Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington] Sherry Rehman tendered her resignation, Shazia refused to take her MNA seat and the Election Commission declared PPP’s next candidate Saira Jatoi an MNA,” he said. Baloch added that the Election Commission was waiting for a response from the National Assembly speaker before it initiated the process.
Sources in the ruling party told The Express Tribune that soon after Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira was asked to file his nomination papers for the prime minister’s slot, President Zardari asked Shazia to tender her resignation from the provincial ministry and Sindh Assembly, and come to Islamabad.
“The plan was to appoint Shazia the federal information minister, but since Kaira is likely to retain his earlier position, the government may give her an important media-related responsibility either in the party or the government to fill the void left after Wahab passed away,” a senior PPP leader said.
Shazia belongs to an influential family of Sanghar district in Sindh. Her grandfather, Ali Muhammad Marri, was a member of the Sindh legislative assembly during the British Raj and her parents, Atta Muhammad Marri and Parveen Marri, have served as members of the Sindh Assembly as well.
Earlier reports claimed she would take oath as an MNA during the NA session on Friday, but the move did not materialise. When contacted, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said he had no knowledge of the party’s decision.
“We have heard (the reports) as well, but cannot confirm it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shazia confirmed that the party had decided to elevate her to an MNA and maintained she would accept whatever responsibility is given to her.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.