KARACHI: The PPP-led Sindh government is set to extend on Monday Rangers’ stay in Sindh for another year and their special powers for three months. Utv Pakistan Report
“Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah held a meeting with the co-chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party, Asif Zardari, in Dubai on Sunday at which the latter ordered the CM to notify Rangers’ one-year stay in Sindh with policing powers for three months,” said a senior official in the Sindh government.
Earlier on Sunday afternoon, Murad Ali Shah carrying his laptop, entered the departure lounge of Karachi Airport to catch a flight for Dubai, where he was to brief Mr Zardari about the goals he had set for himself to serve the province for the next 20 months — the remaining period of the government’s term.
Mr Shah, apart from discussing the Rangers’ powers issue with Mr Zardari, sought the former president’s guidance over the expansion of his cabinet to accommodate certain leaders.
He also spoke about the merits and credentials of some members of his 17-member cabinet and shuffling of their portfolios.
Mr Zardari asked the chief minister to sign the summaries about the Rangers’ stay and special powers on Monday, saying it was ‘extremely important’ to accomplish the CM’s goals, law and order being foremost among them.
According to the sources, the party decided not to have any confrontation with the security establishment and that’s why it has changed the portfolio of Sohail Anwar Siyal, who was home minister in the cabinet of Syed Qaim Ali Shah, but has now been given agriculture ministry.
The Rangers had sought removal of Mr Siyal after a controversy involving Asad Kharal surfaced weeks ago.
The PPP, however, did not succumb fully to the paramilitary force’s demand and kept Mr Siyal until Murad Ali Shah replaced Qaim Ali Shah as the provincial chief executive.
The sources said that Rangers’ special powers for three months would remain confined to Karachi as per the previous arrangement. However, increasing attacks in northern districts of Sindh could justify the Rangers’ and the federal government’s demand for the Sindh government to notify such powers for the entire province.
“Such a demand could be deliberated upon later, not now at least,” said a senior official.
Among the names that came under discussion as new ministers included Manzoor Wassan, Nasir Shah and a nominee by the Maher brothers of Ghotki district.
Sources said the cabinet expansion is likely to take place in a week.
The meeting discussed the present ministers’ credentials and it was felt that the ministry of food for Nisar Khuhro had not satisfied the former senior minister.
It was noted that Sikander Mandhro, who has been allotted health ministry this time, was not impressive during his previous stints in various ministries.
The performance of Dr Mandhro, a leader from Badin, during the recent local government elections was not impressive as the city continued to remain under the influence of PPP’s rebel leader Dr Zulfiqar Mirza.
The sources said that a change in the portfolios of ministers was on the cards. Among the ministers likely to be changed is Jam Mehtab Maher, who his time has been given education ministry. But his performance as health minister in the last cabinet remained unimpressive with a crisis in Thar largely remained unattended.