Dr Ebad busy packing as hunt for new Sindh governor on cards

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  • Former Karachi corps commander Tariq Wasim Ghazi, PML-N’s Khawaja Qutabuddin, Senator Salim Zia in race for slot
  • Sources claim political resistance proving major hurdle in third phase of Karachi Operation
  • British High Commission official says govt reluctant in signing extradition treaty with UK

The federal government looks poised to officially nominate a new governor for Sindh– a decision which could prove crucial for the third phase of Karachi operation.

According to sources, the federal government believes that it is time to send Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan packing as he has lost support of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), especially after the party’s hitman Saulat Mirza’s confessional statement just before his hanging, alleging Ebad’s role in targeted killings.

The appointment of a new Sindh governor is a determining factor for the fate of Karachi operation against miscreants, sources said.

The military leadership is not happy with the reluctance and lack of commitment shown by the Sindh government against criminals. Since the establishment is not happy with Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, the appointment of a new governor is very important, sources said.

IN THE RACE:

“The establishment had proposed the name of former Karachi corps commander Tariq Wasim Ghazi for Sindh governor’s slot by virtue of him knowing Karachi’s militant wings better than anyone else. However, the prime minister thinks otherwise and there are remote chances for Ghazi’s appointment,” a source said.

On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) circles claim that a party loyalist, Khawaja Qutabuddin, has been finalised for appointment as new Sindh governor. Politically a nobody, Qutbuddin is a businessman and is not an active politician and holds no office in the party’s Sindh chapter.

On the contrary, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Danyal Gilani said that no decision had been made to remove Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan. ‎”This news about change of governor is not correct,” he said.

Meanwhile, another PML-N leader told Pakistan Today that the decision was yet to be taken and PML-N Senator Salim Zia and former Karachi corps commander Lt Gen ® Tariq Wasim Ghazi are also in the race.

Recently, the source added Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain had also interviewed Pir of Halani Sharif, Syed Waseem Shah, former Sindh governors Gen (r ) Moinuddin Haider, retired session judge Mian Ali Nawaz and others.

PACKING NOW:

The source told Pakistan Today that Dr Ebad had starting packing after his daughter’s wedding and a formal announcement for a new governor was a matter of days.

“Dr Ishrat had requested to hold the announcement as he had already dispatched invitation cards of the wedding of his daughter where address of governor’s house had been mentioned. Now since the marriage has taken place, Dr Ebad is ready to leave anytime,” the source added.

APPOINTING TIMID WORKERS:

Sources believe that if appointed as governor, Qutbuddin would be another nobody in political terms, which would be in line with the mindset of PM Sharif who has a “habit of appointing timid party workers who are his loyalists and don’t have political ambitions”.

In past, Sharif had also appointed Mamnoon Hussain as Sindh governor and then elevated him to the coveted post of president of Pakistan.

He also appointed Rafique Tarar, a retired Supreme Court judge, who could not play any role when Gen ® Pervez Musharraf imposed martial law. Rafique had chosen to serve as president even after Sharif brothers were handcuffed, arrested and convicted in various cases by courts under military rule.

HURDLES TO KARACHI OPERATION:

Another source privy to the developments told Pakistan Today that political resistance is proving to be a major hurdle in launching of the third phase of operation against terrorist and corrupt elements in Karachi.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looks in no mood to let Rangers take action against top leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) who are involved in criminal activities and mafia groups have backing of political guns of these parties,” said another source.

He added that the federal government was not only resisting pressure from the military leadership to allow netting “big fish” of the PPP and MQM who were allegedly involved in targeted killings, money laundering and corrupt practices but it was also making sure that no action is taken against them.

“Only last week, Rangers had raided the residence of Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon and arrested his private secretary and other servants while the minister was abroad. Later, the security officials raided a nearby building in the vicinity of the residence of Memon from where a huge amount was recovered from a woman who is very close to Memon,” the source said.

The source added that no action was taken as Sindh government did not allow any action in this regard.

“Moreover, the Rangers has got some strong evidence against top PPP leaders but no action can be taken as neither the federal government nor the Sindh government favours a political storm,” the source added.

The source said that just to send a message to the general headquarters, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had held two back-to-back meetings with PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari to dispel any impression of an action against PPP leadership.

Another source of discord between the federal government and the establishment is government’s foot-dragging on action against criminals linked with MQM and Baloch rebel leaders.

“There is a feeling among the establishment circles that on the direction of prime minister, Interior Ministry has slowed down sharing of information with the British government regarding the murder of slain MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq,” the source added.

The source said that despite a push from the GHQ, the federal government was reluctant to move against leaders of MQM and Baloch rebels.

RELUCTANCE IN SIGNING EXTRADITION TREATY:

When contacted, an official of the British High Commission (BHC) confirmed to Pakistan Today that federal government was reluctant to sign extradition treaty which could allow exchange of convicts between the two governments.

“Whatever media hype in Pakistan, the government looks not keen on extradition of prisoners between both the governments. They talk to us on this issue but they are not forthcoming though. Extradition is just one topic they talk to us on between so many subjects. There are many claims on media though,” the BHC officer added.

Pakistan and Briton have been involved in negotiations for extradition of three Pakistanis allegedly involved in the murder of Imran Farooq, including Moazzam Ali Khan, who was arrested during a raid in Azizabad. In exchange of Khan, Pakistan seeks extradition of Baloch rebel leaders who have been given asylum in UK.

4 COMMENTS

  1. If Qutbuddin is a nobody then he sure will be made Governor. Look at Mamnoon and Punjab Governor (I don't even know his name). But that will be very unfortunate for Karachi because of lack of support from political mafias of Sharifs, Zardaris and MQM in Karachi Operation whis already seems to have come to stand still..

  2. A very well explained article however masses want a Military retired officer to be the next Governor Sindh. Offcourse it has to a Lt. General and that too a previous Corps Commander Sindh. Ideal choice amongst the Ex Military Leaders of this province is General Ahsan Azhar Hayat. The province needs a guy like him to lead this city without any compromise.

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