Thursday, May 7, 2009

PPP expedites efforts to defuse MQM, ANP tension

KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has expedited its efforts to restrain both its allies, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party (ANP), from observing strikes on May 12, in a bid to avoid conflict in the city.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah called on Sindh Governor Dr Ishrtaul Ibad Khan late on Wednesday evening at the Governor’s House in this regard. He left for the Governor’s House soon after attending a series of meetings with cabinet members belonging to the PPP at the CM’s House. He is likely to meet the ANP leadership in this connection.

No official handout was issued by the CM’s House about the chief minister’s lengthy meetings with some of his cabinet members. However, a spokesperson of the CM said that the meetings were related to the forthcoming budget. According to him, the chief minister had called some of the ministers and MPAs belonging to his party to discuss the current budget and the new fiscal year’s budget.

Sources privy to the matter told Daily Times that political issues, particularly the tense situation that is arising as May 12 approaches, came under discussion. The sources claimed that some of the PPP ministers advised the chief minister to declare an official holiday on May 12 to avoid any untoward incident on the occasion.

The sources said that some of the ministers also suggested for an early imposition of commissioner system in the province. They reiterated their stance and said that the present local government system has not only failed to deliver but it is also creating political problems for the provincial government. They referred to the initiatives made by the Punjab and Balochistan governments in this connection.

CJ to visit Karachi ahead of May 12: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry is scheduled to arrive on May 8 for a three-day visit of Sindh.

He is scheduled to arrive at Hyderabad on the evening of May 8. According to the schedule, the chief justice would attend the oath-taking ceremony of the Sindh High Court Bar Association. On the second day, he would leave for Tando Adam to inaugurate a judicial complex. On the same evening, he would arrive in Karachi via Hyderabad and meet the judges and lawyers here. On the third day, the chief justice is scheduled to visit the Karachi Central Prison besides attending other events. On the same day, he would leave for Islamabad.

It is pertinent to mention here that it would be his first official visit to the Sindh after his restoration. On May 12, 2007, while he was a deposed judge, he had made an attempt to visit the city which had resulted in large scale violence.