KARACHI: While Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has lodged a written complaint with Prime Minister Imran Khan about the allegedly insulting attitude of one of the latter’s ministers at a recent meeting of the Karachi Coordination Committee, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi has sought premier’s intervention to ensure the CM fulfils his promises with regard to Karachi, it emerged on Saturday.

The fresh tension between the centre and the province of Sindh became public after Minister Zaidi took to social media to share his version of a verbal clash with the CM in the Jan 16 meeting held in Karachi.

He posted on twitter a ‘confidential’ letter written by the Sindh chief minister to the PM against him in which the CM demanded “action” to avoid such incidents in the future.

Federal minister says Sindh CM didn’t listen to his suggestion during Jan 16 meeting on Karachi

The Sindh CM in his letter cited a rough event at the CM House on Jan 16 where officials from both federal and provincial governments, who were part of the centre-Sindh government body on Karachi, were present to attend its meeting.

“Towards the end of the meeting Mr Zaidi acted in a hostile and belligerent manner in the presence of all members of the committee towards undersigned, which though warranted an immediate response but for the sake of the committee’s overlying objective as well as the office that the undersigned holds, Mr Zaidi’s unruly behaviour, which under no stretch of imagination can be deemed as one expected from a federal minister, was ignored,” Sindh CM told the PM in the letter, demanding his immediate attention and an action on the matter.

After the Jan 16 meeting, the CM along with federal ministers Asad Umar and Aminul Haque had addressed the media in a cordial manner to share details of their sitting.

But, with the emergence of new details it’s no more secret as to why Mr Zaidi did not attend the media briefing that day.

Minister’s version

In response to the CM’s allegations, Mr Zaidi also wrote a letter to the PM that he shared on social media in which he narrated his side of the story and also expressed his thoughts about the performance and attitude of the PPP government and its ministers.

“At the end of the meeting, I reminded the CM Sindh yet once again to fulfil his commitment for devolution of institutions such Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) to divisional/district levels and to include this in the minutes of the meeting along with a timeline for accomplishing these tasks,” said Mr Zaidi’s letter to the PM.

“He repeatedly refused to consider despite my repeating the request to him three times. Every time his response was: ‘I’m not answerable to you.’

“I was not there in my private capacity but representing the federation and frankly he’s answerable to the members of the committee,” the letter said.

Mr Zaidi then, according to his account, walked out of the meeting calling it a “waste of his time”.

The federal minister called upon the PM to play his role to ensure the Sindh CM meet his commitment and fulfil his promises.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021

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