Bilawal backs Murad to rule Sindh, again

Published February 24, 2024
PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a presser alongside Nisar Khuhro and CM-designate Murad Ali Shah in Karachi, on Friday.—Courtesy PPP
PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a presser alongside Nisar Khuhro and CM-designate Murad Ali Shah in Karachi, on Friday.—Courtesy PPP

• Urges rehabilitation of flood-hit, asks MPAs to engage with opposition
• Awais Shah, Naveed Anthony named for speaker, deputy speaker
• MQM-P fields Sofia Shah, Rashid Khan for the two slots; first assembly session today

KARACHI: The Pakis­tan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday named Syed Murad Ali Shah for the post of chief minister of Sindh with party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari directing the MPAs-elect to be “hard on corruption” and “engage with opposition parties”.

The call for the incoming PPP government to be tough on corruption apparently came because of serious accusations of corruption hurled by its opponents during the party’s three terms of governance in the province.

The first session of the Sindh Assembly is scheduled to be held today (Saturday).

With two-thirds majority in the house, the PPP also nominated Syed Awais Shah, an MPA-elect from Sukkur and former provincial minister, and Naveed Anthony, who has been elected on a reserved seat for minorities, as speaker and the deputy speaker of the Sindh Assembly, respectively.

Addressing the MPAs-elect at Bilawal House, the chairman gave outlines of the action plan for the future.

“You have to be very strong and strict against corruption,” he said. “You have to play your role in eradicating corruption. We need to make more efforts as resources are limited, and the problems faced by the people are huge. All the leaders and workers associated with PPP are like one family, and as long as we continue to move forward together, we will continue to succeed.”

Earlier, the chairman’s announcement for Murad Ali Shah to be the leader of the house was received with a huge round of applause and slogans by the legislators.

The 61-year-old graduate of NED University of Engineering and Technology, Mr Shah would assume the CM office for the second consecutive term. In July 2016, the PPP leadership had brought him to replace Syed Qaim Ali Shah as chief minister in the middle of the five-year term. He then continued to serve as CM for the full 2018-23 term.

Awais Shah, an MPA-elect from Sukkur, had served as transport minister during the last term of PPP government. Mr Shah, who belongs to the family of PPP stalwart Syed Khursheed Shah, is also an engineer by qualification.

He completed his graduation from Mehran Engineering University, Jamshoro.

Anthony Naveed, who first became a member of the Sindh Assembly in 2018 on a reserved seat of minority, served as special assistant to CM in 2016-17.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari, while reposing confidence in the leadership skills of Mr Shah, expressed hope that the upcoming Sindh government would achieve the desired goals.

‘Politics of divide’

Mr Bhutto-Zardari also vowed to bring an end to the “politics of hatred and divide”. “Whoever is in opposition inside the assembly or outside, you have to interact with them and engage them. We are here to end the politics of hatred and divide.”

He said recent general elections were “very difficult,” but the way the PPP candidates fought the “conspiracies” was commendable.

Flood destruction

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said other parties had forgotten the flood victims, but PPP remembers them.

“We have not asked for any ministry in the federal cabinet, but we have asked for one thing; the centre should play its role in the rehabilitation of the flood victims of Sindh and Balochistan. We will provide them with houses and grant ownership rights to the women of these houses,” the PPP chairman added.

He pointed out that 50 per cent of the schools in Sindh were destroyed by the floods, and the new government will prioritise their reconstruction.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari reiterated his commitment to align education curriculum with the requirements of modern times and added that the incoming government would continue its praiseworthy performance in the health sector.

MQM-P candidates

In a related development, the Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment-Pakistan (MQM-P) — the second largest party in the Sindh Assembly — announced fielding its candidates for the offices of speaker and deputy speaker in Sindh Assembly.

In a statement, the MQM-P said its coordination committee had decided to nominate Sofia Shah Advocate and Advocate Rashid Khan for the post of speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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