KARACHI: A day before the second phase of the local government elections in 14 districts of Sindh, the provincial government has taken back the portfolio of Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah.
This will be the third local government minister to be removed from the post in the last two-and-a-half years. Shah served barely four months before the sudden decision to remove him was made late on Tuesday night.
Nasir Shah, despite being removed from the post, said he will continue to work as a minister as officials hinted that he will be given a new portfolio.
The outgoing LG minister said that the Sindh chief minister had taken him into confidence before announcing the decision and he has no objections. "The [Pakistan Peoples] party gave me this responsibility and has now taken it back. I will accept whatever decision is made by the party," he said.
A senior leader in the Sindh government said that the PPP wants to bring in a strong LG minister who can deal with the mayors of Karachi and Hyderabad, as well as local government bodies in other districts of the province. It has been alleged that his differences with the opposition leader in the National Assembly, Khursheed Ahmed Shah, over the appointment of the district council chairperson of Sukkur was the main reason behind his removal.
"Khursheed Shah had a meeting with the Sindh chief minister a couple of days ago and later Asif Ali Zardari endorsed Khursheed's idea to remove the LG minister," said an official in Sindh government, requesting anonymity. He added that Khursheed wanted to appoint his son for the post but Nasir Shah, who served as the Sukkur mayor twice during Musharraf's tenure, was unhappy with this decision.
Sindh Information Minister Nisar Khuhro, however, termed the differences between the PPP leaders "merely speculation" and said it was at the party leadership's discretion to allot and withdraw portfolios.
There are rumours that the PPP wants to appoint an experienced party member to deal with the local bodies and, until such a person is appointed, that the chief minister will look after the ministry. There are also reports that Nasir Shah, who is said to be a close aide of the Mahar group of Ghotki, was insisting on the appointment of his son, Syed Kumail Hyder Shah, who has won the district council seat from Rohri. "
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2015.
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