PPP’s Murad Ali Shah elected Sindh chief minister for third time in a row

Published February 26, 2024
Newly elected Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah speaks in the Assembly on Monday after winning the election for the provincial chief executive. — DawnNewsTV
Newly elected Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah speaks in the Assembly on Monday after winning the election for the provincial chief executive. — DawnNewsTV

PPP leader Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday was elected the Sindh chief minister for the third time in a row.

Murad had previously held the position of provincial chief executive from 2016 to 2018 and from 2018 to 2023.

During today’s election, presided over by Sindh Assembly Speaker Owais Qadir Shah, a total of 148 votes were cast, with Murad clinching 112. His rival, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Ali Khurshidi, garnered 36 votes.

Lawmakers from the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and the Sunni Ittehad Council, the new home of PTI-backed independents who won seats in the Feb 8 polls, abstained from participating in the voting process.

Once the voting process concluded, SIC and JI lawmakers remained in the Assembly. The SIC lawmakers displayed placards and assembled in front of the speaker’s dais to register their protest.

 PTI-backed MPAs gather in front of speaker’s dais to record their protest. — Photo by Tahir Siddiqui
PTI-backed MPAs gather in front of speaker’s dais to record their protest. — Photo by Tahir Siddiqui

In his speech, Murad expressed gratitude at being elected the provincial chief minister. “I pay tribute to my party leadership for leading the party and trusting me with this position as it was not an easy decision,” he said.

He recalled that he had first assumed the office of Sindh chief minister in 2016. “The way I came, I always wanted to leave the office with the same respect […] but God has his own ways and today, for the third time, I have been elected as the chief minister,” he said.

“Today, I miss Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. She was my mentor,” he said, highlighting that she always encouraged him. He also thanked the PPP leadership for supporting and backing him despite numerous challenges.

Talking about the Feb 8 polls, Murad said that the PPP had many reservations but had decided to adopt a legal way forward.

“We will not compromise on the sovereignty of the country for a handful of seats […] we will not allow anyone to take advantage of our weaknesses,” he asserted. He added that Pakistan was currently facing a tough time and needed stability more than anything else.

Murad thanked the lawmakers who voted for him and acknowledged that abstaining from the voting process was also part of politics, which some members had chosen to do. He urged all lawmakers to engage in assembly proceedings in a productive manner.

Talking about his priorities, Murad highlighted terrorism as a major issue facing the country and emphasised the need to review operations against criminal gangs in riverine areas.

Murad was also confident that PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari would be sworn in as the president within the next few weeks. He said there were a mere handful leaders in Pakistan who had “vision”, adding that these included Benazir, Zardari and party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Murad also acknowledged the importance of not repeating any mistakes made by his administration in the past. Recognising that some individuals had criticised the PPP’s electoral strategies, he said, “It is the party’s performance that earns votes.”

He highlighted that ensuring access to clean drinking water and education for the people of the province were among his top priorities.

Murad underscored the importance of uniting behind Bilawal’s leadership, asserting that “Bilawal represents the future of Pakistan”. He reiterated his belief in Bilawal’s potential to become the prime minister in the next general elections.

“We are committed to serving the people of the province for the next five years,” he concluded.

Earlier, former Sindh education minister Syed Sardar Shah extended his congratulations to Murad on securing a third term as chief minister.

“He has been elected for the third consecutive term due to his outstanding performance in office,” he said.

The former minister commended the newly-elected chief minister for his dedication to serving the people of the province. He emphasised the need for the provincial administration to prioritise reconstruction efforts in the province in the aftermath of the 2022 floods.

Abdul Wasim of the MQM-P also congratulated Murad. “The mindset and approach of this administration should be leveraged for the benefit of the province,” he said.

He said that MPAs elected from the province were responsible for living up to the expectations of the people of their constituency.“I trust Murad Ali Shah will meet these expectations,” he added.

Seasoned politician

Born in Sehwan Sharif in Jamshoro district, Murad is a civil engineer by profession as after his graduation from the NED University he joined the Water and Power Development Authority as an engineer.

He joined the Port Qasim Authority as an executive engineer and later went to the United States where he studied structural engineering and economic engineering from Stanford University. He also served as a director of the Fish Harbour Authority.

Before 2013 general elections he was declared ineligible to contest the election as he possessed dual nationality. He later surrendered his Canadian nationality and after getting clearance from a court he contested a by-election and became a member of the Sindh Assembly again in 2014.

He was elected as the chief minister for the first time in 2016 when the PPP decided to replace Syed Qaim Ali Shah. In 2018, he was elected as the Sindh chief minister for a second time.

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