KARACHI, March 21: Retired Justice Zahid Kurban Alavi took the oath as caretaker chief minister at a ceremony held at Governor House on Thursday, when his appointment was challenged in the Sindh High Court and the PML-N also asked the Supreme Court chief justice to take suo motu notice of the ‘unconstitutional’ appointment.

Those present at the oath-taking ceremony included provincial assembly speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, over a dozen former ministers, former opposition leader Syed Sardar Ahmad and other Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders.

After the ceremony, Justice Alavi was greeted by PPP and MQM leaders.

As media persons, except those from the official media, were not allowed to cover the event, questions about the formation of his cabinet and strategy to maintain law and order and ensure holding of peaceful and fair elections remained unanswered. The appointment of Zahid Qurban Alvi as caretaker chief minister of Sindh was challenged in the Sindh High Court.

A civil rights campaigner, Rana Faizul Hasan, filed a constitutional petition in the Sindh High Court against Justice Alavi’s appointment, submitting that he was a controversial person having close links with the PPP.

He said the caretaker CM had held several government offices and was not eligible for the slot under the constitution.

The petitioner asked the court to restrain him from acting as caretaker CM and declare his appointment illegal.

PML-N Sindh chapter president Syed Ghaus Ali Shah said that the appointment of Justice Alavi as caretaker chief minister was unconstitutional, and appealed to the chief justices of the Supreme Court and the Sindh High Court to take its suo motu notice immediately.

He also requested the election commission to take notice of the illegal act.

He announced that the PML-N had decided to hold protest rallies throughout Sindh from Saturday against the controversial sale of two islands near Karachi to a real estate tycoon.

Mr Shah, a former chief minister and defence minister, was speaking at a press conference at his residence in Defence Housing Authority on Thursday. Accompanied by Salim Zia, Marvi Memon and other party leaders, he said the appointment of Justice Alavi was against the spirit of the constitution, which called that an interim government be headed by a neutral person, having no links with any political party.

He said the PPP-led government was so much happy with his performance that he was asked to head one inquiry commission or the other.

Giving an example of Justice Alavi’s closeness with the PPP, he referred to the Tori Bund Commission, which was set up after the embankment was breached to save lands of influential elements during the devastating flood in 2010, causing unprecedented devastation to a large cultivated area. He also headed the land commission, the tribunal set up to pay compensation to the heirs of the victims of targeted killings, conducting an inquiry into the causes of the fire in a garment factory in Baldia Town.

Mr Shah said if the people stood up from Karachi to Kashmore against the sale of the islands, the government would be compelled to cancel the deed of the islands as was in the case of the SPLGO 2012 when protest by the people compelled the government to repeal the law.

He said if the people once again rose from Karachi to Kashmore, the government would be compelled to cancel the deal signed with the real estate tycoon to build an ‘island city’.

Meeting with CS, IG

The caretaker chief minister held a meeting with Sindh Chief Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan and Inspector General Ghulam Shabir Shaikh at Chief Minister House, adds APP.

Justice Alavi stressed the need for maintaining good governance in the province and said that “it is our firm duty to resolve problems faced by common man”.

The chief secretary briefed him on government policies, problems and criminal activities.The IG presented a law and order report.

Earlier, the caretaker chief minister was extended a warm welcome on arrival at CM House.

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