ISLAMABAD -  In a major development, the Sindh National Front (SNF) headed by Mumtaz Bhutto on Friday announced a merger with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

SNF Vice-Chairman Ameer Buksh Bhutto, who is the son of Mumtaz Bhutto, announced the merger of his party with the PTI at a joint Press conference with PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the National Press Club.

Both the leaders signed the document of “principles of merger” on the occasion.

Mumtaz Bhutto is the founder of SNF who was once called as the ‘talented cousin’ by former Prime Minister and the founder of PPP Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

He also remained the Sindh Chief Minister and Governor in 1970s.

He founded the SNF in the 1980s after developing differences with the then PPP leadership.

Qureshi talking to the journalists said that the merger of the SNF with the PTI was not an ordinary development and called it “a major breakthrough in the politics of Sindh”. He also thanked Mumtaz Bhutto. Qureshi said that the PTI was also in contact with other influential politicians of Sindh and could offer another breakthrough during this month. He said that the PTI held big gatherings in Umer Kot, Hyderabad and Kandh Kot in Sindh.  “The PTI gathering in Sukkur was at par with the rallies held by former Prime Minister and PPP leader Benazir Bhutto,” he said ,adding, that the people of Sindh wanted to get rid of the PPP and wanted change.

He said that the PTI would hold a rally in Karachi on December 25. Qureshi also clarified that the PTI did not want any delay in the general election.

“We don’t want such a caretaker set-up that would prolong its tenure,” he said, adding, that the PTI wanted that Constitutional amendment seeking fresh delimitation of constituencies should not be made in haste and the reservations of the political parties should be addressed. Qureshi also demanded that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar should resign on ‘medical grounds’.

He said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should give serious consideration to change the portfolio of the Finance Minister. Ameer Buksh Bhutto said that a political space had been created in Sindh as PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari could not provide leadership to the people of the province after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.  He said that the anti-PPP vote was bigger than its vote bank in Sindh but there was a need to get united to consolidate this vote bank.

The document named “principles of merger” states that “both shall continue their struggle to expose those involved in corrupt practices. Therefore, after coming to power, we shall embark upon a process of unobstructed accountability of those who have looted Pakistan and destroyed State institutions.” The document states, “Successive governments in the last few decades have crippled Pakistan due to their insatiable rampant corruption and alarming depths of incompetence. The national exchequer has been drained and State institutions have been destroyed to satisfy narrow personal and political interests.” It further says that “no decisions or policies shall be made which affect the vital interests of any of the provinces without the approval of those provinces and a consensus between all the provinces and the Center”.

“The current principle under which the National Finance Commission operates needs to be improved. Funds are collected from the provinces on the basis of the revenue generation but are redistributed among the provinces primarily on the basis of population; other weightages need to be introduced so that a fair distribution of national wealth can be made,” it stated.

Both the parties said that Pakistan resolution, signed in Lahore on March 23, 1940, was a founding document of Pakistan which promised far-reaching, effective and meaningful autonomy to the constituent units within the framework and ideology of Pakistan.

“The PTI shall strive to make the vision of our founding fathers a reality and safeguard the rights and privileges of the provinces to ensure that no province shall suffer injustice or unfair,” it further added.