Change expected at top in Sindh
By Razzak Abro
KARACHI: Political circles and those close to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) are claiming that another change in the Sindh setup is on the cards and the powers that-be are engaged in developing consensus on a suitable replacement for Sindh Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim.
They are of the view that the expected change was aimed at keeping the opposition at bay and developing an atmosphere of political understanding in the province.
The sources claimed that the powers that-be were considering two options: to nominate Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, elder son of former caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, for the chief minister’s slot.
A former federal minister, Murtaza Jatoi, could not contest the general elections in October 2000 because he was not a graduate then. Later, he passed his BA examination.
This was the reason why his family had fielded his younger brother Arif Mustafa Jatoi and cousin Farhad Jatoi in the general elections and both the inexperienced youth entered parliamentary politics after being elected MPAs.
Arif Jatoi was inducted into the Sindh cabinet as minister for food and agriculture when Ali Mohammed Maher was the chief minister. He resigned on Dec 23, saying it was his family’s decision.
His resignation came after his father, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, met President General Pervez Musharraf during the latter’s visit to Karachi.
An official handout issued by the Chief Minister’s House on the resignation of Arif Jatoi had mentioned that Murtaza Jatoi would hold the portfolios his brother did in the capacity of an adviser to the chief minister, but even after 10 days no notification has been issued in this regard.
According to a proposal, Chief Minister Rahim would nominate Murtaza Jatoi as his successor at a party or cabinet meeting and the latter would be asked to get himself elected to the Sindh assembly.
Sources in the Jatoi family said Arif Mustafa Jatoi or Farhad Jatoi would be asked to vacate their seat for Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi from Naushehroferoze.
The sources said the other option under consideration was the creation of a 15-20-member group within the Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian and make leader of the group the chief minister.
Sources close to Rahim, however, reject chances of any immediate change at the top in Sindh, saying there was no reason to replace Rahim as chief minister.
Rahim was scheduled to hold a press conference at 10pm on Sunday at the Chief Minister’s House, but later cancelled it after he was told that the prime minister, who was in the city, had summoned a meeting in the Governor’s House at the same time, official sources said.
The sources in the Chief Minister’s House did not inform about the topic on which Rahim was to speak at the press conference, and said: “He was to speak on some political matters.”
According to sources in the PML, party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is scheduled to visit Karachi on Jan 5 and here he would discuss, among other things, the situation with regard to change at the top with party colleagues and allies.