KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that his government is committed to holding free, fair and transparent local government elections in the province and nobody will be allowed to interfere in the process.

He termed the NAB allegation of illegal allotment of land worth Rs22 billion aimed at maligning the Sindh government and that the land was allotted before he took over and was already under scrutiny.

He was responding to media questions on Thursday after inaugurating the Jam Sadiq bridge on Korangi Industrial Area road. The bridge has been repaired and partly reconstructed by the Karachi Municipal Corporation at a cost of Rs 221.17 million.

He said: “The revival of the Kalabagh dam issue is no more than a political stunt as some politicians are trying to get some political mileage in the local bodies elections despite the fact that three provincial assemblies — Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — had rejected it through their resolutions. “

Referring to local government elections, the chief minister said he was committed to holding free and transparent LG elections in the province. “Our opponents are deliberately making a hue and cry after witnessing the popularity of the PPP at the gross-roots level,” he said, adding that he would never allow anybody to interfere in the election process.

In reply to another question, Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that on the directives of the Election Commission of Pakistan a ban had been imposed on transfers and postings of government officers. “This is being done to make local bodies elections free and fair but even then anti-PPP forces, which have formed an alliance, are making an unnecessary hue and cry,” he said.

Replying to a question that NAB DG for Sindh retired Col Sirajul Naeem had said that Rs22 billion worth land had been allotted illegally, the chief minister said the statement was aimed at maligning the Sindh government. “It does not suit a person like him to issue such exaggerated statements,” he said. “The Supreme Court has banned the allotment of land. However, there is a provision of allotment of land only for industrial and residential purposes for which a procedure has already been notified.”

CM Shah said he was the custodian of the land of the province and would never give even a single inch to land-grabbers. “The lands allotted illegally are already under scrutiny and would be dealt accordingly,” he said.

Earlier, the chief minister inaugurated the Jam Sadiq bridge after it was repaired and reconstructed at a cost of R221.17 million. The chief minister said the work on the project was started in March 2015 and was scheduled to be completed within eight months, but with the personal efforts of local government minister Syed Nasir Shah the project was completed within seven months. “It is nice of him and the entire population of Korangi Industrial Area and industrialists would take its benefit,” he said.

Aseefa meets CM

Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday called on Syed Qaim Ali Shah at CM House and discussed the matters pertaining to the polio-eradication campaign going on in the province and improvement in the Lyari medical college.

The chief minister briefed Aseefa on the steps taken by the Sindh government to eradicate polio from Sindh. “I have designated a separate force comprising 700 policemen to provide security to the anti-polio teams when they launch their rounds,” he said.

He further said that the Lyari medical college was being given special attention because it was located in the area which represented the lower-middle class.

Aseefa said the Lyari medical college was only for poor girls and “it is my dream to make it a seat of excellence”. The chief minister assured her of his full support and lauded her efforts for medical education of poor girls.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2015

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