CM vows to thwart any attempt to revoke the 18th Amendment

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah said that any attempt to revoke the 18th Constitutional Amendment would be firmly resisted since the amendment has strengthened parliamentary form of government in Pakistan and awarded more autonomy to provinces.

Talking to media at Mazar-e-Quaid on Jinnah’s death anniversary, CM Murad said that the18th Constitutional Amendment was passed by National Assembly in 2010 and a 27-member committee consisting of members from all parliamentary parties had drafted it with collective wisdom and extensive discussion with all stakeholders.

“I am sure federal government would not disturb it 18th amendment but if any attempt is made it would be resisted strongly,” he asserted.

Commenting on Bhasha Dam, the chief minister said that he was not against construction of the dam but there existed some reservations on its location and availability of water in the system. “The dam will be located in seismic area and we do not have enough water in our system to fill it up,” Murad Ali Shah opined.

Elaborating on water position in the system, CM Murad said that last year instead of 10 million acres feet (MAF) only 7.5 million MAF water was released to downstream Kotri. “25 MAF water is required in downstream Kotri to keep the seawater from submerging nearby villages,” he explained.

Citing water-release records for the past decade, CM Murad said that less than 10 MAF water was released in downstream Kotri in the initial six years and in the four years that followed, the water release dropped further between two to four MAF.

Murad Ali Shah said that record of water releases to downstream Kotri was available with provincial government from 1922 till date. “If anybody wants to verify figures he is most welcome,” he said before reiterating that availability of water in system was a pressing issue.

He said that before the construction of Tarbella Dam, 70 MAF water was released downstream Kotri and the Indus delta was thriving. He added that Indus Delta had been recongnised as one of the largest deltas of Asia covering an area of around 14,600 square kilometers (km). “The delta also serves as a habitat for hundreds of different species of marine and wildlife,” he said. “We have to protect the delta by releasing river water into it, otherwise all nearby villages and cities would get submerged in the sea,” he said.

He said that his government and party policy for construction of dams was very clear. He informed the media that the Sindh government had almost completed the construction of 34 small dams and work on another 16 dams was underway.

Replying to a question regarding Baldia Factory fire, CM Murad said that the Baldia Factory incident was a great crime against humanity. He said that a joint investigation team (JIT) had been formed to probe the tragedy and those responsible were held accountable. He further said that the government looked after the affected families following the incident.

To another question pertaining to the law and order situation in the metropolis, Murad Ali Shah said that street crime had increased because of unnecessary and irrelevant transfer and posting policy of caretaker government during general election.

“We have successfully controlled terrorism in city and now we have taken street crime as a challenge and soon it would be eliminated,” he vowed.

Earlier on Tuesday, CM Murad along with his cabinet members and Sindh Governor Imran Ismail visited the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to pay a tribute to the founder of the nation on his 70th death anniversary. CM and governor along with their entourage laid a floral wreath on Jinnah’s grave, offered fateha and recorded their impressions in the visitor’s book.

Speaking to the media outside Quaid’s mausoleum, Governor Imran Ismail said Jinnah’s vision was a beacon of hope for the nation. He also informed the press that all projects of the federal government in Sindh would be completed with the cooperation of Sindh government.

“If we follow the theory of our great leader, our society will be peaceful,” noted CM Murad. “Jinnah’s death anniversary reminds me of how the great leader rekindled hope in the Muslims of the subcontinent,” he added.

Other leaders Murtaza Wahab, Azra Fazal Pechuho, Shahla Raza, Saeed Ghani, Mukesh Kumar Chawla Imtiaz Sheikh and Makhdoom Mahboob accompanied the CM on his visit.

Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar also visited the mausoleum to pay his regards to the father of the nation. Speaking to the media following his visit, the mayor said that Jinnah was a great leader and everyone should follow his vision.

Citizens also visited Jinnah’s mausoleum to pay their tributes to the father of the nation on the occasion of his death anniversary. They laid floral wreaths on his grave and offered fateha. Numerous public and private organizations and educational institutions enthusiastically held programs to highlight different aspects of Jinnah’s life. All government and private television channels also aired special programs to pay rich tributes to Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Personnel of all three armed forces also paid tribute to the founder.

Published in Daily Times, September 12th 2018.