KARACHI     -   The first test-tube baby was born on July 25, 1978 and the first test-tube democracy was born in Pakistan exactly 40 years later, says Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

“The joint opposition decided to observe July 25 as black day because a selected system was put in place on this day,” he said while talking to the media after attending the Youth Parliament at a hotel here on Thursday.

He said “the test-tube democratic government has no knowhow of democratic norms”. Replying to a question about Jahangir Tareen’s observation on agriculture in Sindh, the chief minister said he had respect for Tareen but questioned in which capacity he was asking about agriculture research and other works. “He has been disqualified for life and he has come up with questions against the Sindh government,” he said. Had the federal agriculture minister or the prime minister asked him about progress in the agricultural sector in Sindh, he said, he would have responded accordingly.

Talking about his meeting with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, the chief minister said he wanted to see him therefore he went to see him. “At our meeting, we discussed development projects stuck in ECNEC and decided to approach the federal government in our respective capacities,” he said.

To a question about the Senate chairman, Shah said, “Sadiq Sanjrani has lost confidence of the party, which helped him in his election [to Senate chairman’s office].” He said it was the PPP, which had supported him in his election. Since he has lost PPP’s support, he said, he should step down voluntarily.

Addressing the Youth Parliament earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah called for restoration of student unions. “The vacuum created by the ban on student unions has been filled to some extent by the Youth Parliament,” he said. He said when he was a student he used to participate in student unions and cast his vote in favour of his student leader. “I was a student when a dictator banned unions. Political grooming has come to an end since then and political tolerance has vanished,” he said.

Shah said he had noticed that political tolerance and farsightedness had nosed down. “Everyone on the social media is busy insulting others. This is a dangerous trend and we must impose some self-censorship and regulations,” he said. He said these days the government is silencing the media. “The rulers don’t have experience or guts to tolerate their critics,” he said. “As a matter of fact, the present opposition and the previous governments tolerated them incredibly,” he said. He warned against strangling the media and said it would destroy democratic norms and values and violate the right to freedom of speech. “I was surprised when they claimed during their visit to the US that the media was free in Pakistan,” he said.

The chief minister said that under a conspiracy politicians were being maligned as corrupt, incapable and inefficient. “This is a dangerous trend, which is shaking people’s confidence in political parties. If it happens, dictatorial forces will take over and destruction in the society will begin everywhere,” he said.  He said democracy was being strengthened in European countries and democracy and democratic forces were being maligned in Pakistan.

He said he was working for restoration of glorious past of hockey in Pakistan. “When I was young I used to play hockey but these days everyone has switched over to other games instead of our national game, which is hockey,” he said.