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SUP warns against any deal with Zardari, Murad and associates

Updated February 15, 2019

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Calls for PPP leader’s trial in Islamabad.— File
Calls for PPP leader’s trial in Islamabad.— File

HYDERABAD: Sindh United Party (SUP) president Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah on Thursday warned against any undue favour to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his associates facing trial in the mega money laundering scam.

There must be no deal with Mr Zardari, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and other suspects in the corruption case, he said while addressing a press conference at the local press club along with SUP general secretary Roshan Ali Buriro and other party activists.

“If any deal, compromise or an arrangement like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) is done with the suspects, this will be injustice with the people of Sindh, “ he said and called for their arrest and holding of the trial in Islamabad.

Calls for PPP leader’s trial in Islamabad

Giving reasons for apprehensions about some sort of deal, Mr Shah that the accountability process in Punjab was in full swing but it was strangely slow in Sindh. The media was also airing speculations about Mr Zardari having offered to pay back part of the amount involved in the scam to strike a deal, he added.

The SUP chief also apprehended that the people belonging to the PPP could make every attempt to sabotage investigation and wipe out proofs/evidence against them because the party was in power in Sindh and able to use the government machinery for the purpose. Therefore, he said, it would be wise to hold the trial in Islamabad.

Mr Shah pointed out that the PPP remained in power for 24 years since its birth. “It has ruled over the country and Sindh for five years and then another five years over Sindh since 2008. But during all its tenures, it brought a bad name for Sindhis by resorting to corruption, undermining institutions, grabbing state and private properties, killing merit and setting examples of bad governance,” the SUP chief alleged.

Apparently alluding to Mr Zardari’s recent statement warning that he would not allow “creation of another Bangladesh”, Mr Shah argued that it was the PPP that had refused to accept the mandate of Awami League in the 1970 elections and this eventually led to the fall of Dhaka the next year. Since then, he said, the PPP had been selling its narrative that the country could not be run if the party was kept away from politics.

He said the PPP started raising issues like the 18th Constitutional Amendment and royalty of oil and gas for Sindh only when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) had collected evidence of proofs of corruption and money laundering against Asif Zardari, Murad Ali Shah and their associates in the mega scam.

The SUP leader recalled that it was also during the PPP tenures that many political activists were killed and many others went missing, farmers were economically devastated, agriculture sector was destroyed and Sindh’s forests were plundered.

He demanded that Rs300 billion “missing” from Sindh government’s budget of 2016-17 as stated in the federal auditor’s report be accounted for.

Mr Shah also criticised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for failing to do anything against corrupt elements since it had come to power though it was given the mandate for the very purpose.

He said PTI was supposed to bring back the country’s wealth wherever the corrupt elements had hidden it.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2019