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PM assures nationalists of Centre’s role in resolving crisis in rural Sindh

KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday assured the nationalist leaders and veteran politicians of Sindh of the Centre’s support in resolving decades-old crisis in rural parts of the province ruled by the rival Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), political leaders and sources said.

The assurance from the prime minister came at meetings at Governor House where he after performing groundbreaking ceremony of the Karachi Circular Railway spent time with federal ministers, PTI legislators, leaders of allied parties and other prominent politicians of the province.

The most significant development came when former Sindh chief minister and senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Ghous Ali Shah met the prime minister and announced that he was joining the PTI.

The announcement was made in a brief statement issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Karachi division, without giving details of the discussion held between the two sides. Ghous Ali Shah had served as Sindh CM from 1985 to 1988 under General Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship and later as chief executive of the province in 1999 when Nawaz Sharif was prime minister.

Ghous, Zafar join PTI; SUP expresses reservations over mega housing projects

Also, former minister of state for water and power Syed Zafar Ali Shah and Barrister Murtaza Mahesar were among those leaders who joined the PTI.

Zafar Ali Shah is a seasoned politician with an unstable history of political loyalty. He had served as member of the National Assembly, deputy speaker of the Sindh Assembly and federal minister after being elected to the two assemblies on the tickets of the PML-N and the PPP in different tenures of the two parties.

The PM also met a delegation of the Sindh United Party (SUP) led by its chief Syed Jalal Mehmoud Shah, which mainly discussed fast growing housing projects on the outskirts of Karachi which, it believed, were making thousands of indigenous people homeless.

“We have told the prime minister that mega residential housing projects without demographic and social considerations are deemed to be dire threats,” Mr Shah told reporters outside Governor House after meeting the PM. “Article 172 and 173 of Constitution are very clear on providing the right of ownership and land acquisition. However, from time to time the federal and the provincial governments are violating all rules by converting natural habitats and cultural heritages into mega residential projects.”

He said that the SUP had also demanded a joint investigation team (JIT) from the federal government to find out “hidden hands” behind sabotage and arson attack in Bahria Town in June to spoil the peaceful sit-in of the Sindh Action Committee against some builders and the Sindh government.

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