–PM Imran tasks Info Minister Fawad to visit Karachi as PTI, allies eye dominance over PPP lawmakers in Sindh Assembly
–20 PPP MPAs conveyed formation of possible forward bloc in province, claim PTI leaders
–Fawad, Ismail reject rumours of governor’s raj in Sindh
–PTI govt in Centre will collapse because of non-provision of gas, water to Sindh, warns PPP Chairman Bilawal
KARACHI/SUKKUR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is considering new alliances to topple the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led government in Sindh a clue of which was witnessed when Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed the future prospects of the province with Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) MPA Ali Gohar Mahar and accepted his invitation to visit Sindh as reports of a possible change of leadership in the house make rounds.
According to details, a spokesperson of the PTI Sindh chapter said that the premier expressed his reservations over the current political situation in the province. The prime minister has also accepted Mahar’s invitation to visit Sindh in the coming days.
Soon after the call, senior party leaders arrived in Ghotki to meet with Mahar in what could be termed as a rise in the local leader’s political value. Those who met him include Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi and PTI MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh.
“We are in contact with the PPP members and will give the people of Sindh good news sooner than later,” Sheikh said in a joint press conference at Ghotki residence of the GDA leader. “There will definitely be a forward bloc in the PPP.”
Sheikh, who was elected as MPA from PS-99 (Karachi East-I), has claimed that following the possible arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP might split into many factions. He disclosed that the party’s 20 MPAs are in contact with him for their possible shift to the PTI.
“Mahar will play a role of a bridge between Sindh and the federation,” Sheikh commented.
FAWAD LIKELY TO VISIT KARACHI:
According to media reports, PM Imran has decided to send Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry to Sindh on Monday to take the party leadership and other allies into confidence on the current political situation. However, there is no formal word from the federal government or the minister himself about his proposed visit to Sindh shortly.
The PTI leadership has reportedly considered securing a clear dominance over the PPP representatives in the Sindh Assembly. PTI’s Leader of Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi has chaired a consultative meeting with the GDA leaders in Karachi to bring a ‘vote of no confidence’ against the chief minister. The MPAs in opposition’s alliance also attended the meeting, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) did not attend.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Media Iftikhar Durrani said after there is “damning evidence” against the CM Murad in the joint investigation team (JIT) report, the PPP should consider his replacement. Talking to a group of media persons, Durrani said the province needed a better chief minister, as the incumbent would be spending all his time trying to reply to the things mentioned in the JIT report on money laundering.
Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda has claimed that there is forward bloc in the PPP.
”As many as 20 to 26 members of PPP may form a forward bloc in Sindh,” Vawda told media persons. “A Shah will be next CM of Sindh, if PPP government somehow managed to remain in power in the province”.
Moreover, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi has claimed that the MPAs belonging to ruling PPP in Sindh are making contacts to join the PTI.
Speaking to reporters in Karachi on Sunday, the minister said the PPP MPAs are contacting the PTI and organisers of their rallies are requesting to get rid of them.
‘GOVERNOR’S RULE NOT AN OPTION’:
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Info Minister Fawad Chaudhry have separately rejected the rumours of a probable governor’s rule in the province and maintained that no such proposal is under consideration by the PTI government in Centre.
Talking to media persons in Sukkur on Sunday, Governor Ismail said that he was in contact with Prime Minister Imran Khan to resolve all issues faced by Sindh and to remove the grievances of its people.
“For turning sea water into portable water, the prime minister has proposed a project but due to lack of interest of Sindh the project could not be started,” he added.
The Sindh governor said that ongoing campaign against corruption will continue unabated and there is no room for any compromise on this important issue.
He was of the view that safeguarding national and public interests are top priorities of the government for which all steps were being taken.
On the other hand, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has dismissed the rumours regarding imposition of governor’s rule in Sindh and abolishment of the 18th amendment in the constitution.
In an interview with local media, he said neither there will be Governor’s rule in Sindh nor the federal government will abolish the 18th amendment, suggesting that the Sindh government should cooperate in the investigation against Zardari.
Fawad said, “PPP should remove Murad Ali Shah and name anyone else as Sindh Chief Minister.”
He went on to say that the PTI government in Centre wants to Murad Ali Shah as CM because his name has appeared in the JIT report on money laundering and fake bank accounts case.
Fawad said, “Everyone knows what Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif did. PPP and PML-N should support fair investigation.”
‘PTI HAS NO CHANCE’:
However, Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister Murtaza Wahab has claimed that there is no chance of a PTI government in Sindh. “PTI won’t be able to form a government in Sindh in even 50 years. Those talking about a forward block are in the government on the strength of a mere four votes. If they go here and there, they won’t have their government,” he said while talking to media.
He further complained that names of the PPP leaders were being put on ECL merely on the basis of an initial inquiry report, adding that PM Imran should also be added to the no-fly list to follow the same pattern.
‘MURAD TO STAY CM’:
Later on, after a meeting between the chief minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, Sindh Minister Nasir Hussain Shah made it clear that the PPP leadership has decided to let Sindh CM Murad continue serving in the position.
Criticising the PTI over its alleged horse-trading, Shah said a party which came into power through dishonest means cannot topple the PPP government.
He also said that placing CM Murad’s name on ECL is aimed at depriving the province of its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) share.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto responded to the prime minister’s comments about the Sindh government, saying that it is the cries of the Sindh’s poor which will topple the PTI government in Centre.
Taking to Twitter, Bilawal admitted that the people of Sindh are in distress but it is due to the gas load shedding across the province which “produces the most gas”, adding that there is also blockage of water resources, expensive electricity and destruction of agriculture.
پورے پاکستان سے چیخیں آرہی ہیں کہ بجلی مہنگی، گیس مہنگی، پٹرول مہنگا، غریب کے سر پر نہ چھت، نہ پیٹ میں روٹی، نہ تن پہ کپڑا، یہ چیخیں اب دھاڑ میں بدل رہی ہیں اور یہُ دھاڑ آپکی حکومت گرادیگی۔
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) December 30, 2018
“Sindh is complaining because agriculture and industries are being destroyed,” he said.
Bilawal went on to threaten the PTI that these complaints are quickly snowballing into a “huge roar” which would eventually topple the Imran Khan-led government.