SUKKUR: Senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, has rejected rumours about party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari being advised to quit and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah being replaced.

“Neither anyone from within the party or outside has ever advised Mr Zardari to quit nor is there any move to replace Mr Shah as the chief minister,” he categorically stated while speaking to the media at the residence of provincial minister Raja Khan Mahar in Ghotki on Sunday.

Khursheed Shah explained that Mr Zardari had been away from the country due to health reasons and would return home as soon as he was fit enough to travel. However, he added, Mr Zardari was in full control of the party affairs despite his illness.

Mr Shah said that the chief minister was handling the affairs of the provincial government perfectly and efficiently. “We may not find a better substitute,” he said, adding that there had been no move about his replacement nor had anyone at any party meeting suggested so.

“Maybe someone is willing to become the chief minister but the party leadership is of a concerted view that such a change will only complicate and increase political issues,” he said.

In reply to a question, the senior PPP leader said that [former home minister] Dr Zulfikar Mirza and [former MNA] Nabeel Gabol were in the process of launching a political party.

“They must keep in mind that all those who had in the past quit the PPP to form a new party or join some other one have been unsuccessful in gaining popular support,” he said.

Replying to another question, he confirmed his meeting with Khalid Khan Loond some time back, and said he would be welcomed to the PPP fold if he wished so.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr Shah said that resurrection of Kalabagh Dam issue which had been rejected by three provinces appeared to be part of a conspiracy against the government.

He said the local government elections should be held according to schedule but since candidates would get less opportunity to run campaign due to the month of Muharram, the schedule needed to be revised.

He said the prime minister should have taken all parties into confidence before leaving for America and advised the premier to take up the issues of Afghanistan, India and Kashmir with utmost sincerity and courage.

He said that the new powers vested in the FIA would be checked whether they were within the ambit of constitution or not.

Answering a question, Mr Shah said that in Punjab always the ruling party succeeded in LG election.

He made it clear neither he nor his party or Sindhi people at large were against the people of Punjab but they were against the mindset of plotting against smaller federating units since the creation of the country.

He said the Sindh government had damaged the whole province beyond repair because of their bad governance and unabated corrupt practices.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2015

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