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Murad leaves for Dubai to discuss emerging cabinet issues with party chief

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah talks with senior minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro during the Sindh Assembly session held in the old Sindh Assembly building on Thursday.

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah flew to Dubai on Thursday to meet Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari with the chief agenda to discuss situation arising out after the Sindh High Court verdict against the appointment of adviser to the chief minister on law, official sources said.

They added that Mr Zardari would seek chief minister’s opinion for fielding Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in a by-election from Larkana to give him parliamentary experience before the next general election.

It is the second visit of the chief minister to the UAE over the past 10 days, while he has visited Dubai at least four times since July end when he had assumed the top slot in the provincial government.

“He left the provincial capital alone with his laptop and briefcase in hand,” said an official.
Asif Ali Zardari may seek CM’s opinion about Bilawal’s entry into electoral politics

The chief minister would meet Mr Zardari and brief him on his government’s achievements and challenges, particularly, after the SHC’s judgment in which it had declared the appointment of the adviser on law, Murtaza Wahab, ‘illegal’.

Besides, the sources said, the duo would discuss the possibility of a cardinal shift in the party’s policy vis-a-vis its chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, introducing him to parliamentary politics before the general election in 2018.

“This meeting is groundbreaking in its nature,” said a senior party lawmaker. “It would decide the future course of action about the party, its chairman, and the Sindh government it runs.”

The government officials said with the court’s verdict, all the four advisers and 15 special assistants had been told to stop functioning on their respective portfolios as a matter of government policy to avoid any conflict with the judiciary. “The meeting in Dubai will discuss about the government’s strategy whether to challenge the SHC’s verdict in the superior judiciary. Besides, how to make the existing Sindh cabinet functional and efficient,” said a source.

Most portfolios in the cabinet had effectively been ‘orphaned’ after the verdict as the provincial government took the principled decision to stop all the 19 non-ministerial cabinet members, advisers and the special assistants, from functioning, the sources said, adding that this would reduce the number of functional cabinet members from 37 to merely 18.

The officials said the constitution permitted the chief minister to add just a single minister to the existing cabinet size. Mr Shah could seek the party leader’s guidance for possible shuffle in the cabinet by replacing the non-performing ministers with new ones, they added.

The sources said the party leaderships in Sindh and Punjab had suggested to Mr Zardari to expose the party’s young chairman to the parliamentary politics and the chief minister’s opinion on the issue would be sought during his one-day visit.

Some three years ago when media had extensively speculated about the PPP chief’s possible contest in a by-election from a Larkana seat, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Mr Zardari’s spokesman, had announced that Mr Bhutto-Zardari would not join parliamentary politics before the 2018 elections. The media reports claimed that MNA Ayaz Soomro had resigned from NA-204 to enable his leader to contest the by-election but the Bhuttos’ traditional constituency is NA-207 which was being represented by Mr Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur.

The sources said once the party finalized its strategy about fielding Mr Bhutto-Zardari in electoral politics, it would disclose it on its foundation day event on Nov 30 in Lahore. “It will be brought forth as a popular demand by the party cadres in the foundation day event,” said a party source. “Any seat, including the one occupied by Ms Talpur, could be got vacated for this,” added the source.

The source said Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s electioneering could be launched on Dec 27 on the ninth death anniversary of his mother. He had made his first public speech on the same day in 2012 at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh.

Besides, the source said, Mr Shah would brief the party chief about the performance of his government, particularly road infrastructure and other development projects including the Rs10 billion worth Karachi package.

The sources said the PPP government was keen to focus on development in Sindh, which was part of its strategy to remain ready for the general elections if they were held early.

Another source added: “The political scenario could lead to early elections and the PPP leadership is aware about it.”

The chief minister will return here on Friday (today).

Courtesy : Dawn News



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