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Murad questions ongoing accountability process in Sindh

Murad questions ongoing accountability process in Sindh

HYDERABAD: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers and ministers are ready to face investigation by any law enforcement agency as long as it is carried out according to law while in reality action is being taken even over applications filed by anonymous complainants.

Mr Shah told journalists after offering condolence to PPP MPA Abdul Jabbar Khan on the death of his brother Abbas Khan here on Friday that he did not believe that the 18th Amendment could be rolled back that easily as it needed required numbers in parliament to amend the Constitution.

He said that everybody had the right to have his or her opinion about anything but he believed that people of Pakistan who had been granted provincial autonomy would not approve of its rollback. It appeared impossible, he said, adding that PPP had secured mandate of people of Sindh which could not be done away with.

Mr Shah said in answer to a question about chief justice of Pakistan that he would certainly appear before him as he did earlier.

“I was asked to appear before CJP and I conveyed to him that I was to attend closing ceremony of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s urs that day in Bhitshah. Then I was told that I may appear today (Satur­day),” he said.

It was not right to say that Sindh was not sharing information with joint investigation team (JIT) probing money laundering as he believed the CJP might not have been briefed properly about Sindh government’s position on the issue, he said.

He said that Sindh government’s secretaries and chief secretary appeared before the CJP and showed him the documents sought by the JIT and the CJP appeared satisfied after he was briefed by advocate general of Sindh. That was why he remarked that the Sindh government should share information whenever desired by the JIT, he said.

Mr Shah said that he had expected the PTI government to bring improvement but he had not seen any so far though he had still hope.

He warned if the Council of Common Interests did not address Sindh’s complaints over water sharing then the province would move court as the next step. He had raised the issue in a meeting of the National Water Council held on Thursday and said either the issue be decided there or CCI should form a committee to be led by attorney general to decide it.

He said that he had forcefully raised the water issue in a CCI meeting chaired by then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. “The then premier observed afterwards that Sindh has technically proved that water sharing on the basis of historic usages is not correct and now only its legal aspect is to be decided,” he said.

He said the meeting had announced appointment of the committee but unfortunately it was never formed. “In Thursday’s meeting of the National Water Council, I raised the issue again and said that either it should be decided here or in the next meeting of CCI because Sindh wants a decision in ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If Sindh’s point is not accepted, then we will move court or raise it in parliament but we should not be kept on tenterhooks,” said Mr Shah.

About Darawat dam’s takeover involving federal water resource ministry, Mr Shah said federal minister Faisal Vawda failed to mention that the issue was discussed in the Oct 11 meeting.

He said in answer to a question that Sindh’s wind corridor, according to experts, had the potential to generate 50,000MW of energy and only 1,000MW was being produced. Letters of intent had been signed for the generation of another 2,000MW, he said.

Mr Shah said that it was the federal government’s job to add this energy to national grid with required infrastructure and he had taken up the issue with Nawaz Sharif, then Mr Abbasi and now he had raised it briefly before Imran Khan. He said that Sindh had carried out mining in Thar coal project on its own with the help of private sector and a power plant was being established with zero input from federal government.

Even for sovereign guarantee Sindh had submitted counter guarantee for this project. The federal government had, indeed, laid transmission line from Thar to Lahore, he said.

He said that another 100MW power plant was set up in Nooriabad but Hyderabad Electric Supply Company declined to purchase it on the ground that it had surplus power already.

Earlier, the chief minister told journalists after visiting Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s shrine that the accountability process was fine as long as it remained impartial. Accountability was primarily the provincial government’s job but if the National Accountability Bureau was doing it then it was also fine as long as nobody was victimised, he said.

He expressed regret over infants’ deaths in Tharparkar and said children’s mortality ratio needed to be checked. PPP government built road infrastructure and set up reverse osmosis plants in Thar which shut down briefly for non-payment by caretaker government, he said.

APP adds: Earlier, the chief minister along with provincial ministers laid wreaths and offered fateha on the grave of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. He also distributed clothes among widows and deserving women and listened to Bhitai’s ragas.

Published in Dawn, October 27th , 2018

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