KARACHI/LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Suhail Anwar Siyal on Thursday took the oath as home minister, relieving the chief minister of the additional portfolio that he has held since the PPP came into power for the second consecutive time after winning the May 2013 elections.
Mr Siyal was also given additional portfolio of prisons. Besides, Sindh Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was given the additional portfolio of planning and development, while the chief minister appointed his adviser on law, Murtaza Wahab, a provincial minister.
After the appointment of Mr Siyal on the advice of the chief minister, Larkana’s representation in the Sindh cabinet has increased as the two important portfolios of education and home affairs are now being held by Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and Mr Siyal, respectively.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad administered the oath to the minister at a ceremony held at Governor House. “The ceremony was attended by the Sindh chief minister, cabinet members and senior officials,” said a Governor House statement.
Born in Faridabad village, some 15 kilometres from Larkana, 40-year-old Siyal had won the PS-35 by-polls on a PPP ticket last year by defeating Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate Shafqat Hussain Unnar. While PTI chairman Imran Khan had travelled to Aliabad village to muster support for Mr Unnar in the by-election, the PPP candidate secured 38,865 votes against his opponent who got 18,419 votes.
Mr Siyal had received his primary and secondary education in Larkana, passed higher secondary school certificate exam from Hyderabad and did his graduation from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, in civil engineering, according to his cousin Advocate Shahid Iqbal.
The politician remained Bakrani Taluka PPP president for some time and contested the general election from PS-35 as an independent candidate in 2013 after he was refused a party ticket. The late Haji Altaf Unnar, who had for long been a PPP rival, was allotted a party ticket to contest the polls. Mr Siyal, however, decided to challenge the party candidate and contest the election as an independent candidate. He polled 21,178 votes against Mr Unnar, who got 23,622 votes. Mr Siyal did not give up and jumped in the field again after the death of Haji Altaf. He filed papers for PS-35 as the PPP’s nominee this time, whereas Mr Unnar got PTI’s nomination.
Mr Siyal’s uncle, Ghulam Sarwar Siyal, had also served as a lawmaker in the provincial assembly in 2008.
He was a close relative of the late advocate Illahi Bakhsh Siyal, the then Dokri taluka PPP president, who was killed during the late 1980s by his rivals in Karmabagh Mohalla, Larkana.
He was so close to the PPP that Benazir Bhutto mentioned him in her book ‘Daughter of the East’, said Mr Iqbal.
Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2015