KARACHI: In an uncharacteristic outburst of anger, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said on Friday that interference by federal agencies in the provincial government’s affairs amounted to “invasion of Sindh” and that he had already lodged a protest with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
This was his first reaction after the arrest of Dr Asim Hussain, the Chairman of Sindh’s Higher Education Commission.
“The arrest of Dr Asim is a major incident. It is unfair and regrettable that the agencies concerned, which are legally bound to take me into confidence before arresting the person of such a calibre, did not inform me,” he told reporters after inaugurating the Begum Nusrat Bhutto underpass on Sharea Faisal near Mehran Hotel.
Answering a question, he said he had protested to the federal government when the FIA and NAB raided the Civic Centre and took away files of record in a truck. He said he had raised the issue with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and then with the prime minister at a recent meeting of the apex committee.
“The prime minister told me that he was not aware of the action and assured me of addressing our grievances, but even then raids on the Civic Centre are continuing,” he added.
Mr Shah, who is also President of PPP Sindh, said that soon after the arrest of Dr Asim he had spoken to the corps commander and the director general of Rangers who told him that there were serious complaints against him. “But when they sent me details of the complaints against Dr Asim I found them to be of general nature and without any concrete substance.”
He said the DG Rangers had met him earlier in the day (Friday) and briefed him on the complaints. “I told him that I should have been informed about the complaints, but this was not done,” he said, adding that the Rangers chief had assured him that he would be informed before taking such actions in future and the issue would be resolved.
The chief minister said that after his talks with the DG Rangers he was optimistic about the release of Dr Asim “with due respect” soon.
He said the complaints against Dr Asim should have been properly investigated before arresting him. “This procedure was not followed. This is not fair and it has invited the wrath of my party,” he said.
He said his party was angry with him over the action taken against Dr Asim and held him responsible because he was the chief executive of the province. “Being an elected chief minister and head of the provincial apex committee I should have been consulted,” he added.
KARACHI OPERATION: The chief minister said that as far as the Karachi operation was concerned the DG Rangers and IG police were under his command because he was responsible for the operation.
Over the past two years there had been a sharp decline in incidents of target killings, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and terrorist activities. This was conceded also by the army chief during his recent visit to Karachi when he expressed satisfaction over the law and order situation in the city.
The chief minister said that several major projects in Sindh were about to be completed and work on many others was about to be initiated.
He said the Sindh government had been assigned four tasks – to curb incidents of target killings, kidnappings for ransom, terrorism and extortion. And within two years, he claimed, the tasks had been by and large completed under the supervision of the apex committee and with the help of Rangers, police and intelligence agencies.
He said that terrorism plagued not only Karachi but almost the entire country and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the worst affected.
The underpass inaugurated by the chief minister was completed in record 130 days at a cost of Rs 588.4 million. The project financed by the Sindh government was executed by the KMC.
Commissioner and Administrator Karachi Shoaib Sidiqui briefed the chief minister on salient features of the project. He thanked Commander Karachi Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini for his support.
Minister for Local Bodies Nasir Hussain Shah praised the efforts and hard work of the KMC.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2015