KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government at the Centre seems to have staved off a fresh challenge to its survival as Sindh Governor Imran Ismail held a meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) president Pir Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, better known as Pir Pagaro, at his residence here on Tuesday. The governor convinced the Pir to allow more time for the resolution of issues between PTI and the Grand Democratic Alliance — one of the ruling party’s key coalition partners. The PML-F is one of the major constituent parties of the GDA.
Pir Pagaro, who also heads the alliance, was approached by the governor in the wake of reports that the GDA may part ways with the ruling coalition over its unresolved issues after Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the other major coalition partner, withdrew its minister, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, from the federal cabinet a couple of days back on the same grounds.
Governor Ismail called on Pir Pagaro, who is also spiritual leader of the Hur Jamaat, and discussed with him the commitments made by the PTI with the GDA leadership to seek the alliance’s support in forming a government at the centre following the July 2018 general elections.
The governor renewed the assurance that all the pending issues would be resolved amicably very soon.
Speaking to the media after his meeting with Pir Pagaro at Kingri House, the governor brushed aside impressions of any differences between the two sides by saying that he called on Pir Pagaro just as a goodwill gesture. However, the points discussed at the meeting as shared with the media by senior PML-F leader Pir Sadruddin Shah Rashdi belied Governor Ismail’s claim when the former said the talks concluded with a “consensus between the two sides that the results should emerge within a month”.
“There are no differences [within the coalition partners],” the governor asserted. “Pir Pagaro raised some points pertaining to Sindh and its people. The key ones among them related to the electricity and gas crises besides the water supply issue. I have assured him, and I am here to express the same resolve before the people of this province, that I will certainly make every possible effort to see Sindh and its people getting their due rights. I will not let any exploitation happen to them whether it’s about gas or electricity or water supply.”
The governor said that PTI and GDA always stood firm for the development of this province. He reaffirmed the two sides’ common stance that there should be no division of Sindh by way of carving out new provinces from within it. He was of the view that after introduction of new local government system, there would be no need for any such move.
Earlier, Sadruddin Shah Rashdi briefed the media about the meeting, where he and Pir Pagaro’s other aides were present. He shared with the media some of the demands put forward by the GDA and said PTI was conveyed that these should be met within a month.
“The meeting was held in a good atmosphere,” he said. “The two sides agreed to move forward together for Sindh’s development and provision of relief to its people.”
Mr Rashdi said the GDA chief also gave some proposals for the consideration of the prime minister. “The Sindh governor assured us that he would meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and come up with some credible measures at our next meeting.”
Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2020