KARACHI: After being sworn in as the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, accompanied by various cabinet members, reached Lyari for a formal dinner on Thursday night to meet the newly elected MPAs of the area. MNA-elect and sister of President Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, also accompanied Shah on the visit.
According to reports, the dinner was hosted by the defunct Peoples Amn Committee (PAC) leader, Uzair Jan Baloch, in honour of the newly elected chief minister and his cabinet members. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders, however, maintained that the programme was arranged by Lyari MPAs, Saniya Naz and Javed Nagori. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Nagori said that the programme had been scheduled for Thursday and the CM had assured of his presence soon after the oath-taking ceremony. “Lyari is the only constituency wherefrom the PPP has swept all the seats. It is considered a second home for all PPP leaders,” he said.
The event was the first open gathering where Lyari’s most controversial personality, Uzair Jan Baloch, was sitting with the CM.
It must be remembered here that the outgoing government of Qaim Ali Shah had announced head money against Baloch following the demands of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to apprehend the Lyari gang members involved in criminal activities in the city. The head money, however, had later been withdrawn when the MQM parted ways with the government.
It is also worth noting that senior PPP leaders, including Rehman Malik and Syed Qaim Ali Shah, had repeatedly denied any contact with the PAC leadership in the past. Prior to elections, however, all cases and bounties against the PAC activists were withdrawn by Shah’s government.
These gestures may be indicative of the widening gap between the PPP and the MQM on certain issues – whereby, both the former allies have resorted to different pressure tactics. The MQM have announced their decision to sit on the opposition benches whereas the PPP, who had initially invited the MQM to join the government, has now started giving the impression that they can go without their support.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2013.