A race to the finish: Several heavyweights vying for Sindh CM’s slot

Potential candidates have started courting party men to drum up support.

Our Correspondent May 19, 2013

KARACHI: While the other three provinces have designated their chief ministers, Sindh has yet to announce its pick for the top office despite the passage of over a week. The delay has sent the rumour mill in an overdrive and speculations have picked up as several names are being tipped to be the next chief executive of the province. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which got a simple majority in the province, has seen a flurry of activity in the past seven days by various lobby groups within the party to secure the spot for one of their favourites. Insiders believe all this lobbying will come to a naught as the final decision rests with President Asif Ali Zardari, who is known to weigh his options very carefully before announcing his decision.

A host of heavyweights are in the fray and potential names doing the rounds include former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, President Zardari’s foster brother Owais Muzaffar, former federal minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Sindh Assembly speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Agha Siraj Durrani and Makhdoom Rafiqueuz Zaman.

Sources familiar with the development told The Express Tribune that the Makhdooms of Hala have upped the ante and have approached President Zardari to get either the CM slot for Rafique or have Makhdoom Amin Fahim named as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

Similarly, Khuhro is also known to be making efforts for the position and his recent invitation to all the MPAs and MNAs is being seen as an attempt to woo their support for the coveted position.

The very next day, Syed Qaim Ali Shah arranged a similar function, touted as a reception in honour of the newly elected members, to stake his claim for a second consecutive term.

“There is no specific criterion in our party. The most pliant, most obedient among us and the one who will be ready to tender his resignation when asked, will be the next chief minister,” said a senior party leader on condition of anonymity.

Several initial reports had indicated that Owais Muzaffar was leading the race but party sources have dismissed these speculations and said that his chances were dim owing to his controversial background. They said that they see Shah and Bijarani as the frontrunners.

Shah, a two-time former CM, has the distinction of being the first CM in Pakistan to complete his five-year tenure while Bijarani is one of the old guards and his decision to try his luck on a provincial seat is being seen in this context.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Makhdoom Jameeluz Zaman, son of Amin Fahim, said that his father was offered the position of prime minister by former President Pervez Musharraf but he turned it down out of his loyalty for the party.

He said that his family has stood by the party since its inception and resisted pressures from all the dictators. “We have not demanded the CM position but we deserve it due to our sacrifices. If it doesn’t happen, we will accept the leadership’s decision.”

Making matters more interesting, former minister Manzoor Wasan decided to share one of his dreams with the media. Wasan said that the next CM will be new face who would establish rule of law and good governance. It remains a mystery who Wasan was alluding to.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.


Jk | 9 years ago | Reply So Tappi or no Tappi? Doesnt matter really, CM will just be a puppet anyway like last time.
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