Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday denied allegations that the federal government was seeking a power shift in Sindh at the expense of the PPP, and clarified that the PTI was merely seeking the resignation of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
Tempers between Sindh and the PTI-led federal government have flared over the last week after the latter placed on the exit control list (ECL) 172 suspects named in a report compiled by a joint investigation team (JIT) probing a fake bank accounts case. Shah's name is among those placed on the no-fly list.
Take a look: Zardari, Bilawal & the future of PPP
In the aftermath of the ECL placements, speculation had become rife that PTI was eyeing a power shift in Sindh by imposing governor's rule — something Chaudhry categorically denied today.
"All we demand is the resignation of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah," Chaudhry said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad. "We never said that governor rule should be imposed in Sindh."
"We have decided [not to endorse] the impression that we are changing the government in Sindh. All we say is that Murad Ali Shah should be relieved of his post. Two of our ministers had also tendered resignations when charges against them had materialised."
"The mandate for this change is with the representatives of Sindh Assembly and I am glad that they are amping up the pressure on the chief minister [to resign]."
'PTI needs 49 turncoats to form govt in Sindh'
Earlier in the day, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had strongly criticised the PTI, saying that they know nothing about politics "as well as counting".
"I have 99 seats in Sindh and they (the PTI) will have to arrange 49 turncoats to form a government, because after the 18th Amendment you need more than 50 per cent majority for vote on the chief minister's [slot]."
Bilawal went a step ahead and claimed, "But, if Zardari allows us, we can dislodge their [the PTI's] government within a week. They have a majority of only six seats in the centre and an even smaller majority in Punjab [...] we can dislodge them and send them behind bars."
Talking about the JIT report in the fake accounts case, the PPP chairman termed it a "falsified" report and alleged that the government had influenced the report against the PPP leadership.
"The JIT was just a pretext, the Sindh government was the actual target," he said, adding that the party will fight against the conspiracy on the legal front. He said the PTI wants to get the chief minister in Sindh changed but the people of Sindh would not let it happen. "The JIT report was a fake, fictional and useless document," he added.
He mentioned that former president Zardari had faced cases in the past as well but the courts had declared him innocent of all charges.