SUKKUR / LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday assured the Mahar brothers of Ghotki in Sindh that the Pakistan Peoples Party would not be allowed to rig a by-election in NA-205 (Ghotki) and he would issue directives to the authorities concerned to ensure that.
The PM extended this assurance when Grand Democratic Alliance MPA Ali Gohar Mahar told him that the PPP, the ruling party in Sindh, was expected to rig the coming by-election and demanded deployment of army and Rangers personnel on polling day, according to sources.
The prime minister directed Ali Gohar Mahar to remain in contact with the governor of Sindh.
The seat fell vacant after the death of federal minister for narcotics control Ali Mohammad Mahar.
The talks between PM Khan and Ali Gohar Mahar were held in Gohar Palace in Khangarh, Ghotki district, where the former had arrived to offer condolences on the death of Ali Mohammad Mahar to his brothers. Accompanied by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, federal ministers Mohammedmian Soomro and Fehmida Mirza and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen, the PM arrived in Khangarh from Sukkur airport by helicopter.
Imran assures Buzdar of a free hand in performing as Punjab CM
Prime Minister Khan said that since Ali Mohammad Mahar had joined the PTI, his son Ahmed Ali Mahar should contest the by-poll from the platform of the party.
Ali Gohar Mahar replied that they had decided that Ahmed Ali Mahar would contest the by-poll as an independent candidate and would join the PTI after winning the by-election.
Sources said that the Mahar brothers promised the prime minister about making efforts to form a forward bloc in the PPP in Sindh.
When Ali Gohar Mahar asked the prime minister about the fate of development schemes approved on the recommendation of Ali Mohammad Mahar, he was assured that the schemes would be completed.
Prime Minister Khan held another brief meeting with the Mahar brothers — Ali Gohar Mahar and PPP MPA Ali Nawaz aka Raja Khan Mahar and Ahmed Ali Mahar. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Jahangir Tareen also attended the meeting.
After attending a luncheon hosted by the Mahar brothers, Prime Minister Khan departed for Lahore via Sukkur airport.
Meeting with Punjab CM
In Lahore, Prime Minister Khan held a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and assured him of having a free hand in performing while acknowledging his 10-month performance to take the province forward.
The prime minister said the chief minister must ensure peace in the province and speed up work on development projects to ease the life of people.
Mr Khan said his message that he would not tolerate corruption should be disseminated in the province. He said the tax-payers’ money should be spent only for the welfare of people in the province and to bridge the divide between the rich and poor segments of the society.
Lamenting that the previous rulers had callously looted the national wealth, Mr Khan said the PTI government had to take some difficult decisions and the country was on the right path. “Since the direction is set, the nation will soon start witnessing good outcomes leading to easing their way of life,” he said.
Since it was the first PM-CM meeting following the presentation of Punjab budget, the prime minister was briefed about development projects in the province. The chief minister also explained the strategy to get the budget passed from the Punjab Assembly.
The prime minister lauded the chief minister for allocating a whopping development budget for south Punjab, which constitutes 35 per cent of the province’s total development budget.
Sources said the prime minister re-assured the chief minister of giving him a free-hand. They said the extent of a free hand given to the CM could be gauged from the fact that the chief minister was able to reshuffle bureaucracy to control the administrative affairs in the province and give direction to fulfil the vision of the prime minister. They claimed that Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar was still in his saddle only because the chief minister wanted to have him.
Chief Minister Buzdar had heaved a sigh of relief as the much-trumpeted power houses in Punjab had started vanishing “naturally”, the sources said and cited former provincial Abdul Aleem Khan and Sibtain Khan who had to resign voluntarily after they were arrested by the NAB.
They said the prime minister had also allowed Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar to work on the provision of clean drinking water to masses in the province. The Punjab Assembly had recently passed the Punjab Aab-i-Pak Authority Bill having the governor as the patron-in-chief of the authority.
During a brief visit to Lahore, the prime minister also approved the appointment of five members of the authority’s board of governors. Retired Maj Gen Ahmad Nawaz Saleem Mela has been appointed chairman and Faisal Ahmad, Khurram Mukhtar, Rabia Zia and Mian Talat Mehmood are the members.
The authority’s patron-in-chief and Governor Sarwar says that they have completed homework for the provision of clean drinking water to the people and steps will be taken to complete this project very soon.
The governor asserts that transparency will be ensured in the working of the authority.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2019