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Murad says to resist if govt plans to roll back 18th amendment

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the 18th Constitutional Amendment provides provincial autonomy and it has strengthened parliamentary form of government in the country, therefore any attempt to roll it back would be resisted strictly.

This he said on Tuesday while talking to media at Mazar-e-Quaid.

He said that the 18th Constitutional Amendment was passed by the National Assembly in 2010 and over 27-member parliamentary committee comprising members from all the parliamentary parties had drafted it with collective wisdom and extensive discussion with all the stake holders. “I am sure the federal government would not disturb it [18thamendment] but if any attempt is made it would be resisted strongly,” he said. Talking about Bhasha Dam the chief minister said that he was not against the construction of Bhasha Dam but there were some reservations on its location and availability of water in the system. He added that it was located in the seismic area and water in the system is not available to such an extent that the dam could be filled.

Elaborating water position in the system, he said that last year instead of 10 MAF only 7.5 million MAF water was released to downstream Kotri. “As a matter of fact, 25 MAF water is required [downstream Kotri], otherwise sea would keep encroaching further upon the nearby villages,” he said and added “last 10 years history of water releases to downstream Kotri shows that for six years it was less than 10 MAF and then went down further between two to four MAF.” Murad Ali Shah said the record of water releases downstream Kotri was available with the provincial government from 1922 to this date. “If anybody wants to verify the figures he is most welcome,” he said and added availability of water in the system was a big issue.

He recalled that before the construction of Tarbella Dam average 70 MAF water was released downstream Kotri and our delta was thriving. He added that Indus Delta has been recognized as one of the largest deltas of Asia covering an area of around 14600 square kilometers. The delta is habitant of hundreds of different species of marine and wildlife,” he said and added “we have to protect it by releasing river water into it, otherwise all the nearby villages and cities would vanish away in the sea,” he said. The chief minister said that his government and party policy for construction of dams is very clear. He added that the provincial government was constructing 34 small dams and their works have almost been completed and work on other 16 dams was in progress.

Replying to a question he said that Baldia Factory incident was a great crime against humanity.

He added that in order investigate the incident JIT was formed, the culprits were brought to book and the government looked after the affected families.

To another question, Murad Ali Shah said that street crime has increased because of unnecessary and irrelevant transfer/posting policy of the caretaker government during general election. “We had successfully controlled terrorism in the city and now we have taken street crime as a challenge and soon it would be eliminated,” he vowed.

Earlier, the chief minister along with Governor Sindh and his cabinet members laid floral wreath on the Mazar of Quid and offered fateh to pay him rich tribute on his death anniversary. The chief minister also recorded his impressions in the visitors’ book.

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