LARKANA: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday expressed his lack of awareness about the reported arrest of former MPA Owais Muzaffar alias Tappi, said to be foster brother of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, by Interpol in Dubai.
Speaking to reporters at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto on Tuesday, Mr Shah said he too, like other people, came to know about such a report having been aired by private TV channels.
He was here to review the arrangements being made for the April 4 programme of [PPP founder chairman] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s death anniversary and hold a meeting with the local administration in this regard.
Expresses ignorance about Tappi’s reported arrest
The CM said he expected a big participation of people in the programme as PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, during his train journey from Karachi to Larkana, had made speeches at all stations and told party workers and supporters to profusely attend it.
Replying to a question regarding an incident in which former chief minister Ali Mohammed Mahar was injured at his Clifton house by some armed intruders, the CM said he had received the information at about 1.30am [on Tuesday] and till then police had reached Mr Mahar’s house to investigate the matter.
He noted that Mr Mahar had since returned home from hospital. “I tried to contact him but he was taking rest,” he added.
Mr Shah hoped that facts would come out soon. “According to the initial reports, some eight to 10 persons barged into Mr Mahar’s house and after overpowering his servants, they tried to commit a robbery,” he said.
When asked about a meeting of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) board that was under way while he was speaking to the media, the CM said it [the NAB board] was not supposed to consult anyone about the decisions it had to take.
He, however, stated that he was being prosecuted without being served a notice. Mr Shah again referred to some observations of the apex court’s former chief justice Saqib Nisar on Jan 7 asking NAB that “on whose directions the names of Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh CM are placed on the exit control list?” He said “from this query, I guessed that the names may have been put on the ECL on someone’s direction”.
In reply to another question, he said he was not informed about the recent visit to Sindh by the prime minister.
When asked how he viewed the opposition’s attitude in the Sindh Assembly, the CM said: “We enjoyed support of 99 members in the house, which is running smoothly.
“Naturally, the opposition will mount pressure to assert its presence but assembly runs under the prescribed rules”.
Commenting on the PM’s announcement regarding a Rs162 billion package for Karachi, Mr Shah said it was not clear which schemes the funds would be spent on.
“It’s just a commitment in the air and a hollow promise,” he remarked, arguing that the Sindh government had time and again been pressing the federal government to release its share in the NFC (National Finance Commission] that had now swelled to over Rs120bn.
He recalled that [former PMs] Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had also made such announcements in the past but all this turned out to be mere lip service.
Touching the issue of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), the chief minister said it was the flagship project of the Sindh government and that’s why it [the provincial government] opted to move Supreme Court for a review of its verdict.
“The institute is currently in a crisis and the Sindh government will continue to support it,” he said, adding that he was closely monitoring even the salaries issue in the context of the financial crisis.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2019