KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that despite 18th Amendment in place, the federal government is refusing to devolve its powers to the provincial government.

Talking to a delegation of Senate Functional Committee on Devolution Process, which met him here on Thursday, under the leadership of Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Mohammad Shahi, the committee chairman, the CM said, “This is an injustice with smaller provinces, and this denial will further intensify sense of deprivation.”

Other members of the delegation were Nawabzada Saifullah Magsi, Tahir Mashahadi, Taj Haider, Atta-ur-Rahman, Mohammad Usman Khan Kakar, Saeed Ghani and others.

Murad said that the former federal government of PPP had unanimously passed the 18th amendment in which all the parliamentary forces and parties had been taken into confidence. “In principal, the federal government should have devolved the functions, powers and assets of all the 18 ministries to the province,” he said.

Listing some of the departments supposed to be devolved to the provinces, the CM said the devolution of Evacuee Trust, release of funds to Population Welfare Department, transfer of Directorate of Central Warehouse and Supplies and National Research Institute of Fertiliser Care Karachi, transfer of National Coaching Center of Pakistan Sports Board, devolution of EOBI, Workers’ Welfare Fund, OECP and OPF to the provinces, provincial representation in the federal entities, devolution of departments related to fisheries, matters pertaining to higher education and similar powers were still awaited. “We have been raising the issue, sending letters and notes, but all of them are falling on deaf ears,” he deplored and hoped the senate committee would fight the case of smaller provinces.

Supporting the argument of the chief minister, Committee Chairman Senator Mir Kabir Ahmed Mohammad Shahi said that instead of devolving 18 ministries, the federal government had created another 12 ministries. “We have held meetings with the CMs of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and now are meeting with the CM Sindh, and all of them have the same reservations,” he said, and added that he was quite happy to see that the provinces were on the same page on this devolution issue.

He further said Chief Secretary Siddique Memon had given him and other members of the committee a detailed briefing on the issue of devolution and concerns of the provincial government. “Memon presented Sindh case in a decent way,” he said, and added, “Your case is quite strong, and we would further raise this issue with the federal government.”

The chief minister thanked the senate committee for being the voice of smaller provinces and hoped that their efforts would definitely bear fruits.

Murad calls on outgoing,

incoming governors

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah called on Governor-designate Justice (r) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui at his residence on Thursday and congratulated him on his appointment.

He also presented him a bouquet of flowers, and lauded his services as Chief Justice of Pakistan and also praised his boldness and strength of character with which he refused to take oath under the PCO. Murad hoped that Justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui would serve the people of Sindh with the same spirit as he had served the people of Pakistan as a chief justice.

Siddiqui thanked the chief minister and appreciated his efforts for introducing good governance in the province and developing institutions.

Earlier, the CM paid a farewell visit to the outgoing Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ebad at Governor’s House.

He praised the services of Ebad as a governor of Sindh and his ability to take each and every one, politicians, religious leaders, scholars, businessmen together. Ebad thanked Murad for showing courtesy.