Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Monday said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had no jurisdiction to conduct raids in Sindh, a statement welcomed and endorsed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chairman Altaf Hussain.
“It is an invasion and we are going to challenge it,” Shah said while speaking to media in a Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) programme held at the FPCCI building.
“Without asking the Sindh government, NAB and FIA have been given powers by the Centre to conduct raids in provincial and local government offices, arrest officers and paralyse the day to day working of the provincial government,” said the chief minister.The chief minister added that the executive authority of the federal government or officers of its agencies could not perform the functions of Sindh government in respect of criminal offences regarding corruption of provincial civil servants.
ALTAF HUSSAIN PRAISES QAIM:
Soon after Qaim Ali Shah’s statement became public, MQM chief Altaf Hussain praised the stance taken by the Sindh CM on the issue of giving additional powers to FIA.
“MQM fully supports the stand taken by the chief minister regarding giving of more powers to FIA. It is tantamount to an attack on Sindh and a great injustice,” said Altaf, adding that legislation should be drawn up to control such injustices towards the provinces.
The MQM chief assured the chief minister that the MQM would extend every political, legal and moral support if the Sindh government challenges the additional powers of FIA in a court of law. “People of Sindh must wake up now and make a united effort for making their province autonomous by ending the current occupied status,” said Altaf, adding that Sindh has been treated as a colony for the past 68 years.
The MQM chief further urged parliamentarians from Sindh to set aside their ideological differences and launch a united effort for the legal and constitutional rights of Sindh.
NISAR PLACATES QAIM:
Seeking to placate the SIndh chief minister, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan assured Shah that extra powers given to the FIA under the Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA) were not just limited to Sindh but extended to all parts of Pakistan.
In a telephonic conversation with Shah, Nisar said FIA had been granted special powers to tackle crimes that take place in international waters, span across provinces or do not fall under police’s jurisdiction.
Shah told Nisar that actions of FIA and NAB are not less than interference in provincial autonomy. He said that both organisations had already begun raids in Shikarpur and other districts of the province, even against teachers and clerks.
“As a matter of fact, we have anti-corruption and a chief minister inspection team to probe these smaller offences,” he said. “Yes, we will extend our full support if there is any mega corruption case or irregularity but even then the FIA and NAB are bound to take me into confidence.”