Fawad warns PPP of ‘practical’ steps if Murad not removed

KARACHI: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry suggested that the PPP itself remove Syed Murad Ali Shah from office for “facilitating corruption”; otherwise the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf would take “practical” measures for bringing the change that he said was imminent.

He also termed the PPP-led Sindh government “occupation of Sindh”.

The minister arrived in Karachi for a daylong visit. He spent a busy day, met Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, chaired a meeting of party leaders and legislators from Sindh and held talks with leaders of coalition parties.

Amid different engagements, Mr Chaudhry maintained the same tone and sounded firm on his party’s stance against the PPP-led Sindh government.

“The PPP has actually occupied Sindh,” he said while talking to reporters at Karachi airport. “We support the democratic system and that’s why we want to give them [PPP leadership] time so they take an initiative and take resignation from Murad Ali Shah. If they don’t take action then we would be bound to take practical measures for the change that’s imminent and definitely would be witnessed by the people of Sindh.”

He accused CM Shah of “facilitating” corruption and wrongdoings of former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and private business conglomerate Omni Group, which he said had taken out a Rs54 billion loan from the Sindh Bank with the support of Mr Shah.

“The PTI stands with the people of Sindh whose money had been found in the banks of Dubai and London instead of [being spent] on them. The wave of change, which has been witnessed by other provinces, would now be seen in Sindh. It is the right of the people of Sindh to become part of the change,” said the information minister.

He also claimed that he was approached by PPP legislators from Sindh, who wanted a change in the province and were looking towards the PTI for development in Sindh.

Asks why NAB not arresting Zardari

Later in the day, he told reporters at the residence of PTI’s Haleem Adil Shaikh that he was surprised as to why the National Accountability Bureau was not arresting Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur and CM Shah despite the fact that their names had appeared in the report of joint investigation team as “key suspects”.

“It’s quite unfortunate that the performance of NAB is not satisfactory and it’s moving at a slow pace,” he said. “Mr Zardari and Faryal Talpur have made the people of Sindh hostage while Murad Ali Shah facilitated all their wrongdoings despite holding a key office in the province and all this is documented in the JIT report. Despite all these facts [they] are not arrested yet, which is quite surprising.”

Visits MQM-P head office

Later, he visited the temporary headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan in Bahadurabad, where he discussed implementation on several decisions made between the two coalition partners a few months ago.

The federal minister brushed aside the impression of any dispute or disagreement between the two sides while reiterating the “political importance of the MQM-P”.

“MQM is a political reality and one of [the] key coalition partners of the PTI government,” Mr Chaudhry told reporters after the meeting. “In today’s meeting, we have discussed and reviewed the memorandum of understanding which we signed at the time of formation of the government. Several points of the MoU have already been executed while others will also meet the same fate soon.”

Representing the MQM-P, deputy convener Kanwar Naveed Jameel reminded the federal minister of promises of funds from the Centre for a public university in Hyderabad and other development schemes in urban Sindh.