KARACHI: Just a day after the National Accountability Bureau filed a reference against the Sindh chief minister for alleged “misuse of authority”, the province’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Wednesday called it an attack on the elected provincial government while the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf demanded inclusion of CM’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The reaction from the government and opposition came in separate press conferences.
First came the PPP’s presser in which key members of the Sindh cabinet termed the NAB reference against Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah an attack on the democratically elected provincial government.
“You would see a consistency in NAB actions against elected representatives from Sindh [and] the PPP legislators,” said Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah.
Accompanied by Education Minister Saeed Ghani and Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, he said: “A reference was filed against a senator from Sindh, the Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla and now the Sindh CM. It shows the state of panic the federal government is in and now it has decided to attack the Sindh government for political vendetta. The pace we witness of such actions after the Broadsheet scandal has exposed NAB completely.”
The NAB reference accused the Sindh CM of using his influence and releasing funds for some power projects in violation of rules. The reference against the Sindh CM was filed by NAB’s regional directorate of Rawalpindi.
PTI demands inclusion of Sindh chief minister’s name on ECL
It alleges billions of rupees’ irregularities in the Nooriabad Power Company and Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company. Besides the CM, Abdul Ghani Majeed of Omni Group and 16 others have also been nominated accused in the reference. The Nooriabad Power Project was originally conceived by the Sindh government in 2012, but it could not materialise then due to “red-tapism and delays in regulatory approvals”.
Minister Ghani questioned the performance of NAB when it came to investigations against the individuals associated with the PTI and “scandals of the federal government.
“The nation needs to know about NAB’s performance on sugar, BRT, flour, LNG and other corruption scandals,” he said. “It’s not rocket science and every common Pakistani understands that it’s not accountability but political victimisation. This should stop.”
The opposition PTI came up with a different reaction. The key leader of the party and soon-to-be leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh demanded that the name of CM Shah be put on the ECL.
“The frontman of rulers of Sindh, Anwar Majeed, is involved in a tractor scam and he was also given subsidy of billions of rupees in Dadu Sugar Mills and Thatta Sugar Mills,” he said while addressing a press conference along with party MPAs.
“These corrupt people also harmed the Sindh Bank and they are also involved in the Nooriabad power plant scam. A probe should also be conducted about the assets of Fiyaz Jatoi, whose family members include officers of up to grade-22. Their bank accounts should also be probed,” he said.
He levelled the allegation of huge corruption in the Roshan Sindh Programme blaming PPP MPA Sharjeel Inam Memon for the alleged mega corruption.
“But here we see that the Sindh Assembly speaker has included his [Sharjeel Memon’s] name in the Panel of Chairmen,” said Mr Sheikh. “These corrupt rulers devoured Rs920 million in the name of castration of stray dogs. We want the names of every individual including Sindh CM on the ECL. Since 2007 the nation has been seeing that one man who owns the portfolio of finance is involved in all corruption in Sindh.”
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2021