KARACHI - PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday nominated Senior Finance and Energy Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah as the party candidate for the slot of Sindh chief minister, who would replace outgoing CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

Addressing a PPP Sindh parliamentary party meeting, Biawal Bhutto said they had decided to change the chief minister of the province and bring Syed Murad Ali Shah.

The PPP Sindh lawmakers extended their complete support to the party chairman and no one raised any reservation over the issue.

Bilawal Bhutto said he would give complete authority to the incoming chief minister to make changes in the incumbent cabinet and bring the people of his own choice.

The sources said portfolios that would likely witness changes included education, health, culture, minority affairs and others.

The sources, however, said Bilawal Bhutto applauded Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani for running the assembly in a better way and asked him to continue his role in this capacity. Bilawal Bhutto said he had been scrutinising the performance of the assembly members since January.

During the meeting, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah submitted his resignation to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and would officially submit the same to the Sindh governor today (Wednesday).

The nominated chief minister would file his nomination papers for the chief minister’s slot on Thursday and the process for the election of the new CM would be held at the Sindh Assembly session to be called in by the Sindh governor on Friday. The chief minister-elect would then take oath of his office at the Governor’s House the same evening.

In a statement issued from Bilawal House, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari eulogised the services of the outgoing chief minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, for the party and the province, adding they would continue to seek his guidance from his experience in the future also. Qaim Ali Shah called on the PPP chairman at Bilawal House.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the decision to replace an experienced and loyal PPP leader was very difficult, but it was taken for political and strategic purposes in the collective interest of the party and the province. He stated Syed Qaim Ali Shah is a great asset to PPP, who stood by the party through thick and thin for three generations.

On the occasion, the outgoing chief minister reposed trust in the leadership and said he would continue to serve the party. Brushing aside the impression of rift in the party ranks, he said, “We all are PPP. We are like family members and we all are on the same page. There is no rift, no heart burning,” he said, adding the new chief minister would complete the work he was leaving behind.

Syed Qaim Ali Shah said he had served the people of this province with heart and soul. “I tried my best to serve my people selflessly. It always remained my utmost effort to provide maximum job opportunities to the youth of the province.” He hoped the new chief minister would also work hard for the people of the province. This was the legacy of Shaheed Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and the new chief minister would follow it as he did, Qaim Ali Shah concluded.

Later, Qaim Ali Shah went to the residence of Izharul Hassan, the leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, and offered condolences over the death of his father.

Earlier, Senior Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah called on Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and discussed with him issues of mutual interest, including governance, development schemes, law and order and others. Syed Murad Ali Shah lauded the services of Syed Qaim Ali Shah for the party, the people and the government.

Meanwhile, people from all walks of life, MPAs, provincial ministers and notables called on the Sindh chief minister and lauded his services for the province.

Nominated Karachi mayor and Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Waseem Akhtar put his weight behind Murad Ali Shah and said if Pakistan People’s Party had contacted MQM, the party’s decision-making body would have favoured this decision.

Speaking to media persons after appearing in a court which sent him to jail on judicial remand, Akhter said in the present situation Murad Ali Shah was the right choice for the position of the Sindh chief minister.

He also ruled out any possibility of governor’s rule in the province and said they were living in a democratic era. Akhtar further said Sindh needed an active CM and it was PPP’s right to bring about an in-house change.

In another development,

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah called on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Bilawal House. The PPP chairman took the senior PPP leader into confidence over the change of leader of the house in the provincial assembly.

The opposition leader who had earlier said he was not taken into confidence over the changes made in the Sindh province extended his complete support to the party decision.