PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan’s decision to not meet Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah during his visit to Karachi on Monday was tantamount to a public rebuke that ill behoves the prime minister of the country.
The fact that Mr Khan decided to meet members of the anti-PPP alliance GDA but not Mr Shah demonstrates more than just a dismissive attitude towards the provincial government; it conveys that he has no qualms about widening the divide that already exists between the centre and the Sindh setup. How then can he expect the public to believe the federal government when it says it is willing to extend its support to resolve the issues of Karachi and the rest of the province?
Mr Khan is the chief executive of Pakistan and its constituent provinces, and the responsibilities and requirements of his office are above and beyond what is expected from the leader of a political party. He represents all sections of the public — whether or not they voted for his party, they look to him for the resolution of their problems.
If, as Mr Khan has suggested, the federal government has taken over the responsibility of works which the provincial rulers were obligated to undertake, there needs to be a clear strategy for carrying out these additional duties, otherwise these projects will be marred by organisational chaos.
Though it is true that the performance of the PPP in terms of governance has been dismal over the past decade or so, the fact that the party came to power yet again through the popular vote is not something to be taken lightly. The problems of governance in Sindh cannot be resolved without talking to the biggest and most important stakeholder in the province.
There is no other way to pave the way for development other than rising above petty politics and talking to the representatives of the provincial government who have been voted into office by the people of Sindh.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019