PM Imran places Tiger Force in Sindh under governor

Updated May 21, 2020

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Aide says no intention to impose governor’s rule. — APP/File
Aide says no intention to impose governor’s rule. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: After the Sindh government’s refusal to include the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Tiger Force in the provincial administrative system, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday decided to place 154,000 members of the Tiger Force in Sindh under his party leader and provincial Governor Imran Ismail.

The PM took the decision at a meeting with his Special Assistant on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, who informed him that currently 115,000 volunteers of the Tiger Force — including around 93,000 in Punjab, 19,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1,500 in Balochistan — were involved in relief activities in the three provinces.

While addressing a press conference here at the Press Information Department after the meeting, Mr Dar said that Mr Khan had given the directive that the administrative control of the 154,000 members of the Tiger Force be given to Governor Ismail, who may use their services to fight against coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Dar said the federal government had contacted the Sindh government during the past two weeks to take services of the Tiger Force (not to be confused with the same title the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf popularly uses for its die-hard political activists), but the provincial government plainly refused.

The PM’s aide alleged that the Sindh government had been making efforts to politicise the issue of Tiger Force. From Thursday, he said, Sindh Governor Ismail would lead the force of 154,000 volunteers. How-ever, he added, the services of Tiger Force would be used when required.

In the first phase, he said, they would be deployed at federal government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Centres and at the Utility Stores across Sindh.

Aide says no intention to impose governor’s rule

Mr Dar told the media that PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on the one hand talked about working with the government to defeat coronavirus pandemic, but on the other, his party had double standards for Sindh, where they were unwilling to take the services of the selfless youth who wanted to serve without getting any financial benefits.

He said the Tiger Force comprising volunteers having strong national spirit were supposed to contribute to relief activities selflessly on apolitical basis. He said that the volunteers [in three provinces] had helped district administrations in collecting data of labourers, maintaining Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in mosques, helping people at quarantine centres, keeping a check on subsidised items at Utility Stores and facilitate people at Ehsaas Emergency Centres etc.

Overall around one million volunteers (including 154,000 in Sindh) got themselves registered as members of the Tiger Force, whose services would be taken in phases, Mr Dar declared.

In reply to a query, the PM’s aide attempted to clear the impression that the Centre wanted to impose Governor’s Rule in the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh. He said that the PTI-led federal government did not support Governor’s Rule.

While talking about the 18th Constitutional Amend-ment, Mr Dar said the federal government had no intention to “attack” the 18th Amendment. Only the PPP-led Sindh government had been talking about the constitutional amendment, he said, adding that the Centre had no plan to undo the amendment though it wanted to have a discussion on it in parliament so that the people could know the performance of the Sindh government. He said in Sindh, hundreds of people had died because of shortage of rabies vaccine and anti-snake venom. People also wanted to know the Sindh government’s performance in the education sector, he said, adding that after 18th Amendment, the rulers of Sindh increased their assets whereas the masses did not get any ‘significant’ benefit.

About Kamyab Jawan Programme, the PM’s aide on youth affairs said the premier had ordered to make the programme more flexible by increasing the limit of soft loan to Rs25 million from Rs5m.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2020