SUKKUR: Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has criticised the Centre for not implementing the 18th Constitutional Amendment in letter and spirit which according to him tantamount to usurping the rights of provinces.

Speaking to the media in Qadirpur village of Jacobabad district on Tuesday, Mr Shah said that ever since the approval of the 18th amendment, Sindh had constantly been approaching the Centre for the devolution of departments and institutions supposed to be handed over to it soon afterwords.

He noted with concern that even the health and education sectors were not fully devolved to Sindh as yet and the matters relating to revenues in the labour department had also been retained by the Centre.

He said his government took up the issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and made efforts to get it resolved through various forums.

It was also raised during the recent meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) but the Centre was not considering our grievance, he said.

Mr Shah said that keeping in view the Centre’s attitude, Sindh got a law approved from its assembly to take full control of the labour department.

However, he added, Sindh was still fighting for all its legitimate rights and would continue its efforts in this direction while remaining within the ambit of the Constitution.

“No one is there to get Sindh its due rights but we are the elected public representatives and are under obligation to serve the people of Sindh,” he said, and made mention of the the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government’s achievements leading to the formation and implementation of the National Finance Commission.

Law and order

In reply to various questions about law and order, the chief minister said that there had been a marked improvement in the situation in Karachi as compared to the past.

He appreciated the cooperation of the prime minister as well as the chief of army staff to the provincial government and lauded the role of the Sindh police and Rangers.

He said that the Sindh government and PPP, not the chief minister alone, was supposed to decide about further extension in the Rangers’ extraordinary powersfor the elimination of terrorism and other heinous crimes.

Replying to the question about emergence of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and dismemberment of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the chief minister said such question should better be asked to the two parties.

Mr Shah dispelled rumours about differences among his cabinet members and categorically stated that no major change was in the offing.

Operation against Chotoo gang

The chief minister referred to the ongoing police-military operation in Rajanpur against the notorious Chotoo gang, and said that the Sindh-Punjab border had effectively been sealed to facilitate it. He expressed his confidence that the operation would succeed in clearing the entire area from gangsters.

Panama Papers leaks

Regarding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s future in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks, Chief Minister Shah expressed the view that being an elected PM, Mr Sharif should explain his position in this context to the masses. He observed that it was yet to be decided whether an investigation into the charges relating to the leaked papers would be carried out by a judicial commission or a parliamentary body.

Earlier, the chief minister visited the family of deceased MPA Sardar Muqeem Khan Khoso to express his condolences over his death.

He described Mr Khoso as his friend and a senior politician who being the chieftain of his tribe made commendable efforts to maintain peace within his constituency.

He noted that it was mere a misunderstanding that led to Mr Khoso’s brief dissociation with the PPP in the past.

He said the PPP high command would soon select a politician like him for the PS-14 seat.

MNA Mir Aijaz Jakhrani, Mir Mumtaz Jakhrani, Mir Manzoor Khan Panhwar, Mir Aurangzeb Panhwar, Mir Ghulam Mohammed Shalyani, Zahoor Ahmed Khoso and other PPP leaders accompanied the chief minister.MNA Ghous Bukhsh Mahar and a large number of political figures, activists and people from all walks of life attended the deceased Sardar’s soyem.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2016

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