Sindh Minister for Information Nasir Hussain Shah on Sunday responded at length to allegations by Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry against the Sindh government.
Speaking during Geo News programme “Naya Pakistan”, Shah claimed that Chaudhry used to conspire against Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and now he is making statements against Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah based on “utter lies”.
“Murad Ali Shah has never done the kind of politics that he has been accused of. We do not use the Sindh card, rather we advocate for the Pakistan card,” he said.
“We only ask them not to deprive us of our due rights, nothing more than that,” the minister added, speaking of the National Finance Commission Award to Sindh.
“The other provinces are also our own as they are part of Pakistan. But they must give us our due share.”
Shah said that “they come here and count numbers and say they have given us a lot”.
“A pittance is allotted for a city that has a 60-70% contribution to the country’s economy and then this is thrown in our face,” the minister said.
He said that there was grand talk of big allocations but the budget documents show that there is a “major difference” in what was promised and the PSDP allocation for Sindh.
He said it was rather unfortunate that Chaudhry spoke out against the Sindh police, who have made countless sacrifices in ensuring law and order.
“Who do you think thwarted the attack on the stock exchange which had foreign intervention?” he asked.
“We have a lot of respect for the Rangers and they have supported us a lot but the sacrifices made by Sindh Police have ensured our success,” he stressed.
Health sector improvements
Shah, during the show, also pointed out that the small segment aired to show Chaudhry’s remarks did not cover the depth of allegations levelled by him.
“Fawad Chaudhry also spoke of hospitals, saying that Karachi’s hospitals were supposedly neglected which is why the Centre is taking over them now.”
Shah said that when these very hospitals were under federal authority, “you should go into past records and see what budget allocations they had and what state they were in”.
“The Sindh government, during Qaim Ali Shah’s time and Murad Ali Shah’s time, improved their state. And they do not only serve the people of Sindh, the entire country benefits from the services they provide,” he said.
Shah went on to include the mention of NICVD, the cyber knife facility, and liver transplants which he said until recently were a distant dream. “This is where we have spent the money,” he said.
‘Transport infrastructure work incomplete’
Responding to a question regarding the alleged lack of work on the transport front by the Sindh government for the past 13 years, whereas three new buses had been introduced in Punjab via the province’s own budget in four years, he said that the Centre only likes to blame Sindh for infrastructure work that in fact the Centre took upon itself and did not execute.
“Mian sahib would say that the infrastructure is complete but Sindh did not bring buses. Later, Khan sahib said they would bring buses. So what is our fault? But both would blame us.”
He said that with the provincial government’s own budget, it had done a lot of work in Sindh.
Centre promises money but for existing projects
“In PSDP, we wouldn’t say anything about allocations for federal, defence, and other expenditures. But then we see there are hundreds of projects for other provinces and the largest contributing city to the economy does not have any major project allocation. There are only announcements. You talk of Rs1,100bn but do you know where the money is?
“One is CPEC, one is the Bahria money being given to the Supreme Court, the K-IV project — all those projects are already existing.”
‘Sindh a thorn in their side’
He said this propaganda that Sindh is not delivering is baseless. The reality, he said, is that the Sindh government is a thorn in their side. “They themselves say that Sindh is not theirs. And they cannot digest the fact that the chief minister is performing.”
Shah said that the Centre talks about imposing governor’s rule in Sindh, about Article 140A, 141, and brings cases against the chief minister.
He said Sindh’s performance can be measured by the fact that the party scored seats in constituencies where they did not previously have them, whereas in other constituencies the other parties are unable to find a candidate to field against theirs.
Speaking of the cleaning of stormwater drains, which the Centre has promised to do, he said that these are only three in number. “There are 41 nullahs that fall under the jurisdiction of the KMC and 514 drains fall under DMCs so we are managing the rest. So what are they trumpeting their horns for? Why not undertake work for the remaining 38 as well then? And then why not undertake work for the 514 if you are so interested?”