Centre-Sindh Tension

During his recent visit to Karachi, the Minister of FEDERAL Information Fawad Chaudhry launched a blistering assault on the Sindh government and accused it of incompetence and mismanagement. The Court also requested that Article 140-A of the Constitution be implemented by local authorities. It accused the PPP administration of financial misconduct and called Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah a “puppet.”

Spreading accusations against the information minister and the PTI Government in the centre, the Sindh government voices reacted. This mutual acrimony has once again damaged the federal government’s atmosphere and will lead to tension and cooperation between the governments of Sindh at a time when both sides need a better cooperation. This is not a new tension. In the early days of the Covid 19 outbreak, Sindh’s Murad Ali Shah government pro-actively reacted, and the federal government was tumbling down and wavering.

CEO Shah moved quickly to lock-outs and strict policies to slow the pandemic spread. These various approaches between Islamabad and Karachi led to a war of words which inevitably politicized the way the pandemic was handled.

It’s clear, between the two parties, there is no love lost. The former President Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari were vocal criticized by Prime Minister Imran Khan, while PPP leaders rattles PTI over the coals since they formed the government in 2018. In fact, the term “selected” was first coined for Mr. Bhutto-Zardari.

Consequently, the political rivalry goes deep and nothing has been done to dilute it in recent years. Both parties cooperated briefly in the Karachi development package, but the mutual distrust and blame were also a factor in the process. The citizens now have to suffer from this state of affairs because they can’t coordinate their policies by both governments.

It is rather confusing against this backdrop why the Minister of Information decided to launch an unconscious assault on the Sindh administration. If he tried to set fire to Sindh’s electorate, he might want to consider first how his party – which has a significant public-representative presence in Karachi – has paid so little attention. Such an adverse situation, however, is not durable without prejudice to the functioning of the federation.

The leadership of both parties must cast their personal likes and dislikes aside, and establish a relationship that can make them civil and reliable. The Minister of Information and his colleagues in the Party should resist the urgent desire to unleash torrents of criticism of the PPP and the Sindh government.

Zainab Murtaza

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