Murad rejects allegation of not cooperating with JIT

Updated October 24, 2018

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SPECIAL students pose for a group photo with CM Murad Ali Shah at the Deaf Reach School in Sukkur on Tuesday.—Dawn
SPECIAL students pose for a group photo with CM Murad Ali Shah at the Deaf Reach School in Sukkur on Tuesday.—Dawn

SUKKUR/LARKANA: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday rejected the allegation that his government was not cooperating with the joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the apex court to probe corruption and fake bank accounts allegedly involving Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders, their frontmen and elements within the provincial government and bureaucracy.

“We are fully cooperating with the JIT because we had done nothing wrong and we have nothing to hide; why should we conceal the official record, which is available with the department concerned and could be made available to anyone?” he said while speaking to the media in Thull town of Kandhkot-Kashmore district.

Speaking to local reporters in Thull and later at Jakhrani House in Jacobabad, Mr Shah explained that the process of providing the required records to the investigators was slow because the JIT had sought detail of all contracts awarded over the last 10 years. The details included the companies and contractors concerned whose number was several hundred, he added. Obviously, this was a task impossible to accomplish within a few days, he argued.

‘Rolling back 18th Amendment, changing NFC nomenclature will be unconstitutional’

The chief minister visited Thull and Jacobabad to condole with the bereaved families over death of nine persons in a train-Qingqi crash near the Ogahi Laro area of Kandhkot town last week.

He said that details of 36-40 schemes undertaken by the irrigation and works and services departments had been provided to the JIT as was required.

Earlier, CM Shah flew into Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto, where he offered fateha and placed wreaths on the grave of Begum Nusrat Bhutto, as well as those of other members of the Bhutto family buried there, in connection with her 7th death anniversary.

Several ministers, lawmakers and senior PPP activists, including Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Mir Shabbir Bijarani, Dr Sohrab Sarki, Mir Mumtaz Jakhrani, Sardarzada and Suleman Khan Panhwar accompanied Mr Shah during his visit.

In Thull the CM offered condolence to the heirs of 10 victims who were killed in the train accident and announced compensation for them from the Sindh government.

Speaking to the reporters present there, the chief minister said that recent statements of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet colleagues appeared focused on rolling back the 18th Constitutional Amendment and amending the nomenclature of the National Finance Commission (NFC). Such moves would be unconstitutional, he warned.

When asked would he see the PTI government under the obtaining conditions complete its tenure, Mr Shah said “we pray for assemblies to complete their tenure; an in-house change, if [it] comes, will also be a part of democracy”.

“The Constitution is very clear about the NFC, which advocates enhancements in provincial shares but the PTI-led government is talking about curtailing their shares. This is unconstitutional,” he said.

In reply to a question about Anwar Majeed’s medical treatment, the chief minister said he was unaware of Supreme Court’s directives on the issue but the Sindh government would provide due facilities admissible for a prisoner or an ill prisoner as per the relevant laws.

When asked how he viewed the recent hike in gas and electricity tariffs, the CM said it was the federal government’s policies that had drastically affected prices. “In the wake of price hike, it’s provincial government that has to face people’s reaction as it’s we who remain in touch with the masses”.

About fixing of paddy’s support price, the chief minister said it could not be given at this juncture. “The procurement price of paddy is fair enough,” he said, added that he himself was a paddy grower.

School opened

In his visit to Sukkur, CM Shah inaugurated the Deaf Reach School, jointly built by the Sindh Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (Stevta) and Deaf Reach organisation under the public-private partnership.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, he said the school was the best example of service delivery through the public-private partnership. He noted that Stevta and Deaf Reach were currently running such schools in Karachi, Nawabshah and Sukkur in this province.

Deaf Reach founder Richard Geary briefing the CM about his organisation’s achievements and said that it had established six such schools in the country.

MNA Noman Islam Shaikh, MPA Syed Farrukh Shah, Deputy Mayor Tariq Chauhan and other prominent personalities attended the ceremony.

Responding to questions posed by local reporters and other people present there, CM Shah said there was no provision of “governor’s rule” in the Constitution.

He said his government and party were serving Karachi and looking after it efficiently because it was heart of the country. “We expect the Centre to look after Karachi and provide it due assistance,” he said, adding: “Such assistance should not be like the one [ousted prime minister] Nawaz Sharif had pledged; he had announced a Rs25 billion package for Karachi and provided not even Rs25”.

Describing the just launched ‘Naya Pakistan Housing Progra­mme’ of the PTI government, Mr Shah said its estimated cost was put at $180 billion which meant it was five times bigger than the gigantic CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor). “It’s beyond anyone’s comprehension as to how the PTI government [will] arrange for such a huge amount of money,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2018

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