Friday Jul 29, 2016
KARACHI: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) nominee Syed Murad Ali Shah was voted in as the new chief minister of Sindh on Friday in an easy election boycotted by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani announced that the PPP nominee received 88 votes while PTI nominee Khurram Sher Zaman received 3 votes from the House.
Shah, who until the resignation of Qaim Ali Shah as chief minster on Wednesday was working as a senior minister for finance, had only one rival candidate from the opposition benches — MPA Khurram Sher Zaman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
The PPP, which has taken a lot of flak for its poor show of governance in the province, has replaced octogenarian Qaim Ali Shah with a relatively young leader as part of a campaign to ready itself for the 2018 general elections.
Friday's contest was a one-sided affair given the statistics of lawmakers in the house being highly in favour of the PPP. The provincial assembly session was summoned by the governor at 3pm to elect the new chief minister.
The legislature comprised 168 members, but there were 165 MPAs as three seats are vacant. The PPP had 91 members in the Sindh Assembly, a number big enough to give Murad Ali Shah a comfortable majority to win and form a cabinet of choice.
PTI candidate Khurram Sher Zaman had no chance to sail through the election with his party having only four lawmakers in the house. And of these four, only cast their votes because MPA Syed Hafeezuddin had announced his quitting the party and resigning as MPA to join Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party.
Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani chaired the session of the Sindh Assembly.
The house elected the new leader of the house through the open system of polling instead of using the secret ballot process as the house members voted by taking part in the process of division of the house for conducting the poll.
Son of former Sindh Chief Minister Abdullah Shah, Murad Ali Shah now becomes the 27th Sindh CM, the first time that the son of a former Sindh Chief minister is elected as the chief of the provincial government.
MQM opts out of voting process
Syed Sardar Ahmed, the parliamentary party of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the main opposition party of the province, had decided not to take part in the process to elect the new CM. The MQM with 50 lawmakers in the house was the main opposition party with MPA Khawaja Izharul Hassan as leader of the opposition.
The parliamentary leadership of the opposition announced on Thursday that the party’s lawmakers would remain neutral as they would neither support nor oppose the election of Murad Ali Shah as the new chief executive.
The MQM’s parliamentary leader and the leader of opposition said that earlier their party had supported the candidature of Qaim Ali Shah to become chief executive for the second consecutive time, but that decision didn't augur well for the urban areas of the province.
Ahmed said that the PPP’s continued rule in the province had caused the division between the rural and urban parts of Sindh to widen. He said the ruling party had been in the practice of making decisions by using its majority in the house in a brute and cruel manner, which didn’t augur well for the dwellers of the province.
He said that with Murad Ali Shah becoming the new CM of Sindh, the PPP would continue with its rule replete with bad governance.
PML-N opposes PPP candidate
One of the other opposition parties in the house, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, also announced it would not support the PPP candidate.
"After deep deliberation and discussion, it was decided that the PML-N will participate in the election proceedings of the Sindh Assembly which are to be held tomorrow. But the PML-N will not support the candidate of the Pakistan People's Party for the election of leader of the house because we believe that the PPP government which has been ruling over Sindh for the last eight years only promotes corruption, bad governance, nepotism, favouritism, etc," said a statement issued on Thursday by Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, who is the parliamentary leader of the PML-N in the house.
Soon after the decision of a top-level meeting of the PPP in Dubai on July 24 to bring a new CM in Sindh, Murad Ali Shah and other lawmakers of the party met in Dubai with PML-F chief Pir Pagara to get his blessings for his nomination by the ruling party to become chief minister.
Earlier, TV news channels reported that efforts had been made by the PPP leadership to persuade the PTI not to field its candidate for the CM’s poll so as to enable Shah to become chief minister unopposed. But the PTI snubbed all such efforts.