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PTI not for governor’s rule but it does seek constitutional change: Imran Ismail

Updated July 21, 2019

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GOVERNOR Imran Ismail speaks to the media at the residence of Ayaz Latif Palijo (extreme right) in Hyderabad on Saturday.—Dawn
GOVERNOR Imran Ismail speaks to the media at the residence of Ayaz Latif Palijo (extreme right) in Hyderabad on Saturday.—Dawn

HYDERABAD: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has categorically ruled out imposition of governor’s rule in Sindh and said that the prime minister too has clarified that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is not for governor’s rule but it does seek constitutional change which is a political option available to all provinces.

He said while talking to journalists at the residence of Qaumi Awami Tehreek president Ayaz Latif Palijo who hosted a lunch in his honour here on Saturday that at present constitutional change was being sought in Senate.

He said that doors for talks between federal and provincial governments should never be closed. He could talk to chief minister over all issues concerning Sindh.

He said the federal government was committed to Sindh’s progress and that was why it had included Rs42.8 billion worth projects in public sector development programme (PSDP) 2019-20.

He said the federal government would do everything it could for the welfare of people of Sindh and referred to federal assistance in addressing the AIDS outbreak. The federal government had coordinated with WHO team and provided kits for screening blood for HIV. It was again federal government which ensured that aerial spray was carried out to check locusts’ attack in Sindh, he said.

The governor said that he pleaded Sindh’s case before the prime minister and made sure the province received its share of water from Indus River System Authority. Water flows were available in the river but they were not reaching areas like Badin and Thatta, damaging crops and fish farming and depleting drinking water resources for humans and animals alike, he said.

“I can talk to Sindh chief minister [about] whether any provincial government officer is involved in the water shortage or it is being done [deliberately] at the behest of someone. If it is so then it must stop,” he said.

He expressed concern over growing cases of criminal assault on children and offered federal government’s help through Federal Investigation Agency. “Doors for talks must remain open for resolving people’s issues,” he said.

He said the prime minister was keen to address Sindh’s issues without any discrimination, especially the problems of areas other than Karachi. Sindh contributed 67pc gas to total gas production of Pakistan and the share in gas production from Ghotki was substantial. Still, if the province had to bear gas loadshedding then it was unfair, he said.

He said that there should not be hurdles to projects to be executed in Sindh either by federal or provincial government.

He disclosed the federal government had allocated Rs42.5bn for various development packages and works announced by the prime minister during his visits. In addition, he said, block allocation of Rs5bn had been made, totalling Rs42.7bn, in PSDP. These funds included PM’s Karachi package, he said.

The governor said that federal government had signed an agreement with Malik Riaz to take over his private sector university in Hyderabad and funds were being allocated for the purpose.

He said that PTI had only been in power for 10 months and it would be unfair if people expected it to account for 70 years of bad governance. Pakistan was currently undergoing a change and it was bound to face crisis of economy.

He said that people lacked will to pay taxes. If business community and traders were unwilling to pay taxes then the government would have to approach international lending agencies for more loans and get further mired in debts, he said.

He said that traders had started coming forward to pay taxes but the pace was not encouraging. Now that people knew that an honest man was at the helm of affairs they should and would pay taxes.

Earlier, he said, people knew rulers were raising empires abroad. Accoun­ta­bility was under way through National Accountability Bureau which was an independent institution. All cases against politicians were instituted in past governments but previously governments tried to control the anti-graft watchdog, he said, adding that process of accountability was slower but any achievement in accountability or otherwise pertained to NAB.

Earlier, QAT president welcomed the governor and said that he had raised Sindh’s burning issues with Mr Ismail. Sindh government had failed in handling AIDS, hence the federal government should play its role.

Mr Palijo said that illegal immigrants should be repatriated and water should be provided to Badin and Thatta districts because Sindh government remained oblivious to peoples’ issues. PTI should be asked to account for its performance of 10 months but PPP should also give account for its 23-years rule in Sindh since 1970s, he said.

The governor spent an hour with Mr Palijo and discussed various issues raised by QAT chief. PTI MPA Jamal Siddiqui, Ali Junejo, Dr Mustansir Billah and others were also present during the meeting.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2019