KARACHI: Senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi on Wednesday claimed to have stepped down as the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, days after criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team for playing no role in resolving the city’s ongoing electricity and gas crises.
In a video statement, Mr Naqvi announced his resignation from the coveted office but said he had sent it on moral grounds to the party chairman the same day when he came up with a strongly-worded statement against the federal government. However, it was not accepted as yet, he added.
“Today, [Wednesday] I received several phone calls during my visit to Sukkur with Governor Imran Ismail inquiring about my resignation [as leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly],” he said. “So I want to clarify that I tendered the resignation when I issued the statement about Sui Southern Gas Company [criticising PM and his team]. I had made up my mind the same day, tendered an apology to all party workers and offered my resignation on moral grounds. Now it’s up to the party chairman whether to accept it or not.”
Lashing out at his own party’s federal government, Mr Naqvi had earlier this month criticised the party chief for the ongoing electricity crisis in Karachi. During his interaction with reporters, he expressed his anger and held the federal government responsible for electricity and gas crises in Karachi.
“I will make this noise. PM sahib will hear it, Omar Ayub sahib [federal energy minister] will hear it, Nadeem Babar sahib [special assistant to PM] will hear it. I will make them ashamed,” he said, adding: “And I will say to them, have some shame. Two years have passed, solve the problem.”
But later the same evening, he took a U-turn, posting an apology via his Twitter account. “I would like to apologise to all INSAFIANS. My intention was to say I am going to complain about the energy minister and SSGC to the PM. On hearing the recording words are not exactly conveying that. My apologies to my leader. Who is the most committed & upright man I have met.”
Despite the resignation, Mr Naqvi in the fresh statement repeated his stance for Karachi without criticising anyone and reiterated that the PTI should deliver for the mandate it had been enjoying for the last two years.
“I believe that the people of Karachi had voted for the PTI and it has to deliver to them. The issues of gas and electricity should be resolved in the city,” he added.
Although he did not mention any pressure or demand from the party leadership for his resignation in his statement, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) found an opportunity to target the PTI and its leaders in the wake of the fresh political development, calling leaders of the ruling party at the centre “intolerant and undemocratic”.
“There are reports that Firdous Shamim Naqvi has resigned,” tweeted Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah. “The stalwart of PTI has shown the door only for showing mirror to the PM. It’s only PPP which welcomes criticism openheartedly both from its supporters and opponents. This government on the other hand puts its critics behind bars under false cases.”
Published in Dawn, October 1st , 2020