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Holding back of Rs106bn by Centre affects Sindh’s ADP, says Khuhro

Updated February 18, 2019

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Says the federal government has even forgotten its own projects in Sindh, like the Nai Gaj dam.— File
Says the federal government has even forgotten its own projects in Sindh, like the Nai Gaj dam.— File

HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Sindh president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro has said that the federal government has not yet transferred Rs106bn to the province out of its share in the divisible pool. This has affected the provincial government’s annual development plan (ADP).

He was speaking at a press conference at the residence of his party’s divisional president Ali Nawaz Shah Rizvi here on Sunday. Aftab Khanzada, Fayyaz Shah and other senior PPP activists were also present.

Mr Khuhro said that PPP had made great efforts to get the long-delayed National Finance Commission (NFC) constituted. He said that the federal government had even forgotten its own projects in Sindh, like the Nai Gaj dam. It had now refused to release funds for this province-specific project. But, he argued, a road could be built in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with federal funding.

The senior PPP leader said that the dam was supposed to irrigate 28,000 acres of land. He asked why federal government had conceived it.

He also argued that the Centre neglected drought-hit Tharparkar but KPK was preferred for health card initiative. He said that instead of bring about a positive change, that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had aggravating conditions in the country.

He observed that Prime Minister Imran Khan was not attending parliament’s sessions.”Provincial autonomy is to be undermined and hospitals are being snatched from Sindh,” he stated.

Mr Khuhro claimed that the Sindh government increased sales tax recovery from Rs4bn to Rs120bn. “Now, the federal government is eyeing this resource,” he alleged, and remarked: “If they are not able to resolve issues, then why they don’t just leave?”.

In reply to a question, he said media was heading for a total censorship which reminded people of the Zia-era tactics. “General Zia used to feel delighted seeing newspaper pages blank,” he said.

He said [Federal Information Minister] Fawad Chaudhry was anticipating such a situation to return. “The [federal] government wants a controlled media, but it cannot shut the media altogether as it’s not possible.”

Mr Khuhro said that the PTI government was defaming politics like dictators did in the past and this was reflected from the arrest of [Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly] Shahbaz Sharif. He said the PTI government talked about non-issue like it did in respect of Shahbaz Sharif by seeking his resignation from the public accounts committee chairmanship. Such statements emanating from ministers were perhaps some lead for the courts. He said that the government continued to face credibility issue.

The senior politician condemned price hike, saying that it had wreaked havoc in the country and had increased poverty.Replying to a questioner, he said he had responded to Sindh United Party (SUP) president Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah’s certain remarks by asking him why he had remained silent over the issues of shifting of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and PIA headquarters from Karachi; and handing over of hospitals [back] to the federal government.

Regarding his criticism of veteran nationalist leader G.M. Syed and his followers’ reaction over it, Mr Khuhro said he criticised Syed for praising General Ziaul Haq during the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD). He argued that people criticised [PPP founder chairman Z.A. Bhutto with reference to General Ayub Khan. “Nobody should feel offended,” he said.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019