KARACHI: Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani on Tuesday condemned what he described as “unannounced restrictions on the media” and attributed the financial crisis being faced by the media to the “failed” policies of the federal government.
Mr Ghani was speaking to journalists at Karachi Press Club in its ‘Meet The Press’ programme.
“Bans are slapped on the media by the federal government so that journalists are not able to expose failures of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government,” he said.
The information minister repeated Sindh government’s stance that Prime Minister Imran Khan was not willing to meet Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah during the former’s visit to Karachi on Monday and that’s why the latter did not turn up to receive him at the airport.
“Whenever the PM is on a visit to Karachi, it is expected that he will discuss issues of Karachi with the CM and his cabinet ministers but this time it seemed that he [PM] does not want to meet the CM,” he said, and argued that unlike in the past, the provincial government was not informed of the PM’s visit.
He contested the claim that CM Shah did not receive the PM at the airport despite having being informed of the visit.
“No doubt there are ideological differences between PPP and PTI but the Constitution has provisions that bind a prime minister and a chief minister to meet and interact,” he said, and regretted that unfortunately they did not meet at any forum during the PM’s visit this time.
“This is just possible they don’t have liking for each other, but they hold Constitutional positions and as such they are under obligation to fulfil their Constitutional responsibilities,” he said.
PTI govt ‘incompetent’
Saeed Ghani also reiterated PPP’s stance that it was the PTI government’s “incompetence” that was pushing the country into crises; people, particularly the lower and middle-class segments, were bearing the brunt of skyrocketing prices, which had made life of common man miserable.
In reply to a question about unavailability of anti-rabies vaccines at government hospitals and resultant loss of life of dog-bite victims, the information minister maintained that the National Institute of Health, Islamabad, which produced the vaccine, did not produce it in adequate number and that’s why the supply fell short of actual requirement. He, however, regretted the loss of lives due to unavailability of the vaccine at certain health facilities in Sindh.
When asked about PPP’s defeat in the PS-11 Larkana-II re-election, the minister said his party always faced a tough fight in that constituency. He pointed out that PPP this time did well as it bagged a considerably higher number of votes as against the previous elections. However, he remarked, “the GDA [Grand Democratic Alliance] was given a power vaccine to ensure its victory”.
To a question, the minister said that the Local Government Act, 2013 was in force but could be amended. However, he added, the LG election would be conducted on time, ie in August 2020.
In reply to another question, Mr Ghani said the Sindh government would remain in place but [PM] Imran Khan ought to worry about his government’s survival beyond January next.
Earlier, the information minister held a meeting with KPC office-bearers and executive committee members and assured them that the club’s issues would be resolved without any further delay.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019