Staff Reporter Karachi
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday hit out at PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Sindh cabinet, blaming them for “stealing Sindh’s water”.
In a hard-hitting press conference at the Governor House, the minister said Punjab was not stealing Sindh’s water but Bilawal and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and the provincial cabinet were guilty of the crime.
“The water never runs short when it comes to Zardari and his sister’s lands,” alleged Chaudhry. He said independent observers should find out how much water is provided to Sindh and the amount that is used up by the provincial government.
Chaudhry accused the Sindh chief minister of resorting to “politics of nationalism”, adding that he was distancing himself from the political principles adopted by PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
He said the Centre had increased the share for provinces in the federal budget, adding that Sindh would receive more than Rs750bn according to the NFC award.
“If so much money is coming in (each year) where is it going?” he asked. “They were unable to create a [competent] police force in the city. They have to seek help from the Sindh Rangers every time,” added the minister.
He expressed displeasure of the dismal law and order situation of Sindh, adding that the Karachi police was not even aware of the city’s problems.
“Whoever wants to loot a car in Karachi can do so with impunity,” he lamented. Turning his guns towards the PPP leadership, Chaudhry accused Zardari of limiting the chief minister and assembly’s role.
“All decisions are taken by the Zardari family,” he said. “They appoint one person as a rubberstamp chief minister. The Zardari family runs the chief minister in accordance with their wishes,” added Chaudhry.
Criticising the Sindh government for what he deemed their lacklustre administration, Chaudhry said people were demanding the imposition of Governor rule in the province. “However, there is no provision for it [Governor rule] in the Constitution,” he added.
He said the government’s budget 2021-22 was a people-friendly one, adding that this year Pakistan will grow its economy.
The minister added that the government had decided to slash prices of smaller cars to benefit the common citizen.
“People who have white-collar jobs will immensely benefit from the Kamyab Jawan Programme and the government’s housing projects,” he said.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry urged the Supreme Court to ensure the implementation of Article 140-A of the Constitution in Sindh to address what he dubbed a “constitutional crisis” in the province. Article 140-A requires the provincial governments to establish local governments in their jurisdiction.
“Around Rs16-18 billion have been transferred to Sindh during the past two to three years and with the provincial share being increased in the new budget … the province will be getting another Rs7-7.5 billion through the NFC (National Finance Commission) award,” the minister said, questioning, “Where do these funds go?”
He also pointed out that in the absence of a “capable” police force, the provincial government had to rely on the Rangers to maintain law and order in Karachi since the 1990s.