Stage set for more Centre-Sindh confrontation

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:08 PM, 8 Jul, 2020
Stage set for more Centre-Sindh confrontation
File photo.

A JIT report released by two federal ministers about Uzair Baloch and a different version of the same report made public by the Sindh government has laid the foundation of yet another controversy that will fuel confrontation between the two governments, led by rival parties.

These reports will bring country’s major intelligence agencies under criticism, an undesirable development at a time when already the political temperature is rising and a number of “impatient” opposition parties are closing ranks to oust the Imran Khan government at the earliest.

An all-party conference is scheduled to be held on Thursday (July 9) mainly to highlight the PTI government’s alleged failures on various fronts and work out a strategy for riddance therefrom.

The JIT report controversy surfaced only days after Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan caused irreparable damage at the international level to the image of the national flag carrier – PIA – by alleging that about one-third of its pilots have dubious licences.

The mishandling of the licences’ issue has made the airline a suspect at the world level.

On Tuesday, Minister for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, accompanied by Information Minister Shibli Faraz, released the JIT report and appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the report made public by the Sindh government a day earlier, which, he said, was different from the "original".

The reports coming from the Centre and the Sindh government don’t have the same number of pages and signatories, something hard to believe.

According to Mr Zaidi: "All four people from the federal government have signed each page of this report, but those from Sindh government have not”.

He said there was a "deadlock" between the Centre and the provincial government over the report but the four people from the federal government had sent it forward (to the relevant authorities)”.

Shortly after the federal ministers’ news conference, the Sindh government’s spokesman challenged their report’s authenticity.

Some provincial ministers said motives were behind the report issued by Mr Zaidi as the minister wants to help out some characters mentioned in the report.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said while talking to journalists on Wednesday that some unknown person riding a motorcycle handed the controversial report to Mr Ali Zaidi which he made public, without verifying it with the relevant authorities.

He insisted that the Sindh government’s report was authentic and had been submitted to the provincial home department for further action.

Federal Minister Ali Zaidi, on the other hand, has accused the Sindh government of omitting important information about the motives behind the killings and those who passed the orders.

Legally speaking, a number of important people may have to face the music if action is taken in the light of this report.

However, before any further action, it is incumbent upon the federal government and the Sindh government to prove that what they are claiming is right.

Any side that failed to substantiate its case is likely to be in serious trouble.