KARARCHI – PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday called on Sindh United Party (SUP) President Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, who leads a group of nationalist parties in the province.

Jalal Shah, who is grandson of popular Sindhi nationalist leader G M Syed, hosted a lunch to the former foreign minister and discussed options of alliance between likeminded parties and Sindhi nationalists to give tough time to the ruling PPP in the next general elections.

However, the final decision in this regard will be taken in further meetings Sindh Save Committee, an alliance of six nationalist parties.

Jalal suggested the PTI vice-chairman to give more importance to the rights of the smaller provinces and sought a clear policy of PTI on some controversial issues, urging it to support Sindhi nationalists in their opposition to the Kalabagh Dam and ‘illegal immigrants’ (Bengalis, Biharis and others) residing in Karachi.

Talking to media, Qureshi said that they were trying to establish a new ‘cricket pitch’ in Sindh to get more wickets (i.e. winning politicians from ruling PPP and other groups to their side). He said they wanted a strong federation in the country; therefore, it was necessary to accept and recognise the rights of the provinces (federating units).

He added that he presented the manifesto of PTI to the Sindhi nationalist leader. He said they would try to mitigate the sense of deprivation among the nationalist leaders of Sindh and wanted to take them on board on various issues.

When asked about his party policy regarding mega dams, PTI vice chairman said that the dams were necessary given the energy crises, but no dam would be built without evolving consensus among the provinces. To another question, he said that when they are voted into power, they will form an independent commission to probe into the issues being faced by people of Sindh and other small provinces. The commission would investigate the issues taking into account geographic and demographic considerations and suggest the possible remedial measures to redress their grievances, he added.

Qureshi also said that they acknowledge and respect the mandate of MQM in Karachi, saying that ‘no one can deny its vote bank, which is a reality’. He said that they want to develop good relations with all parties, including the MQM.

Jalal Shah said that they have communicated to Qureshi that the sense of deprivation prevails in Sindh because of the discriminatory approach of the federal government. Bengalis have already got independence, Balochs are demanding it and the same situation is emerging in Sindh, said Jalal Shah, a grandson of GM Syed, who struggled for separation of the Sindh from Pakistan till his death.

 He said the centre was unwilling to hear to the people living in the federating units who are demanding their rights.

 Jalal said that PIT vice-chairman has promised them to consider the demands of Sindhi nationalists.

“We will consult our friends and other parties to make any decision about forming an alliance for next elections, he concluded.

Qureshi held that there was a cultural and historical affinity between Sindh and Mutlan region because the latter had been part of Sindh. Since his childhood he has remained under an influence of Sindhi culture because of his family relations with the province, said Qureshi, who is Sajada Nasheen of Bahauddin Zakria (RA) and whose followers live in Sindh in large numbers. SUP President Jalal Shah said that his family has decades old relation with Qureshi’s of Multan; therefore, he had arranged the luncheon for him.