DADU: Senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and former chief minister of Sindh Liaquat Ali Jatoi has said he is not happy with his party’s top leadership because it has been “neglecting” him and other stalwarts from Sindh for long.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan and his close aides in the federal government have been neglecting the Kachho area as well as no relief package has been announced as yet despite the fact that hundreds of families have suffered huge losses due to recent torrential rains and flooding across the Khirthar range and around 300 nearby villages,” he noted, and argued that PTI had a big vote bank in Dadu district and a vast area surrounding it.

Mr Jatoi was speaking at a press conference at his residence here on Saturday. He also spoke to a large number of PTI workers and supporters who visited him. Other PTI leaders including Sardar Ashiq Ali Zounr, Raees Imdad Ali Leghari and Saeed Ahmed Soomro accompanied him.

He also rejected rumours about his intention to join Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as baseless and unfounded.

He expressed his disappointment over PTI leadership’s “unfair” treatment to his contemporaries like Sardar Mumtaz Ali Bhutto, his son Amir Bux Bhutto and the Mahar brothers who, he pointed out, had made “great” contributions to the party’s attaining strength and popularity in Sindh.

Liaquat Jatoi, who also held the portfolio of federal minister for water and power in the past, said that the Nai Gaaj dam ought to be constructed with an improved design. Highlighting its importance, he said that while being the water and power minister, he had approved the plan to build the dam as it had the capacity to turn 100,000 acres of barren land cultivable and also help generate 5.7 megawatts of electricity sufficient for the entire Dadu and Johi talukas.

He expressed his concern over the heavy casualties and widespread destruction, besides sufferings of the people of Kachho, during recent rainfall and hill torrents, and said the federal government must announce a big relief package for the affected people. He regretted that the affected families were being neglected both by the federal and provincial governments.

Answering a question about some NAB references filed against him, Mr Jatoi said that he was “wrongly” implicated in the matter of Dr Basharat’s appointment as the latter was appointed during the era of General Pervez Musharraf with the approval of the then prime minister. He said although he had nothing to do with the matter, he was facing an inquiry being conducted by NAB. The process of hearing and producing evidence in his defence had also cost him Rs8 million and the inquiry was still going on, he added.

Likewise, he said another inquiry being conducted against him pertained to the landholdings he and his family owned since 1970. “The aim seems to be defaming me and my family,” he added.

If NAB continued to implicate political leaders from Sindh in “false” references, the people of this province would no more trust its transparency, he warned, and remarked that today’s NAB was following in the footprints of the Ehtesaab Commission led by Saifur Rehman during the Nawaz Sharif era.

The former Sindh CM roundly criticised PPP for “plundering the province for the last 12 years and indulging in mega corruption”. He said he was facing threats from PPP leadership but such tactics could not scare him. He alleged that PPP had plundered all development funds meant for local government with the result that people still remained without safe drinking water, irrigation water, proper health and education facilities and all other basic amenities.

In reply to a question about local government elections, he said he intended to call on the Sindh governor and move court against Sindh government’s act of delaying the polls.

He said PPP led by its present leadership was a “looters’ party”, adding that had it been under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto today, no PPP lawmaker or activist would have dared to indulge in corruption.

He pointed out that Rs80-90 billion had already been spent on the construction of Nai Gaaj dam and its catchment area but much of the funding had gone waste. He said over 300,000 people were affected due to the hill torrents and flooding in the area during the recent rainfall. He appealed to the prime minister to help rehabilitate these people by announcing a relief package.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2020

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