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PM Imran Khan planning to capture Sindh in next elections?

After winning in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sindh now remains the only federating unit of Pakistan that remains to be conquered by PM Imran Khan. His growing interest in Sindh means that the PPP is facing a real electoral challenge for the first time. Since unlike PMLN in the past, PTI exhibits ambition to form government in Sindh. GVS spoke with Sindh Opposition Leader, Haleem Adil Sheikh, to seek details of 'Sindh strategy' meeting chaired by the PM on Monday.

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PM Imran Khan appears to be planning to take Sindh in the next elections. GVS learns this after talking with PTI insiders including Haleem Adil Sheikh, PTI’s leader of the opposition in Sindh assembly, who had his second meeting with the PM within the last few days.

PTI, as political commentators observe, already controls governments in Punjab, KP, Baluchistan, GB and now Azad Kashmir. Sindh is the only federating unit where PTI does not have a government at this moment but is the main opposition party in Sindh assembly. PTI leaders from Sindh have been urging PM to take greater interest in the political affairs of the province and it appears that they are succeeding.

 

Haleem Adil Sheikh, leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, after meeting PM Imran Khan, told GVS in an exclusive discussion that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is establishing two central bodies namely “Supreme Advisory Council” and “Political Advisory Committee” to resolve issues of Sindh on a priority basis. Mr. Sheikh explained that Supreme Advisory Council will address the issues of people of Sindh by providing direct relief through federal institutions and Political Advisory Committee will help eradicate the difficulties of PTI workers such as political victimisation by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government.

He was speaking with GVS by phone after his Monday meeting with the PM. This was his second meeting with the PM in the last few days. He had earlier conducted a press briefing at Adil House, in Karachi, on Saturday 24th July after the first meeting which had taken place a few days before Eid ul Adha and had indicated that Sindh is now so much on the radar that a second meeting with the PM will soon take place.

During his press conference, in Karachi, on July 24, Haleem Adil Sheikh had told the media that PTI leaders had met the PM and informed him of the high handedness of the officers of Pakistan Administrative Services and Police who victimise workers of PTI in Sindh. Mr Sheikh, who is also central vice president of PTI, addressing the press conference had claimed that certain officials of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), had been holding the key posts in Sindh for the past 10 to 15 years, are fully entrenched in the local politics and were involved in the corrupt practices with the patronage of corrupt PPP rulers. He had then claimed that demands to purge Sindh of such officials would again be placed before Prime Minister Imran during their next meeting with him in Islamabad after the Eid. It is however not known if any action was decided against PAS officers during the Monday meeting.

PM Imran Khan will hold rallies across Sindh in August

As PTI is focused to revive its Sindh chapter through mass mobilization, PM Khan would hold rallies and public gatherings in Sindh this August, Mr. Sheikh told GVS. “A large number of political figures from Sindh are set to join PTI,” he claimed.

PTI is set to reorganize in Sindh and create a support system for its workers. Mr. Sheikh said that they would highlight the issues facing party workers with the Sindh government. He said, “in this regard, a Political Advisory Committee is also being formed which will comprise of senior party leadership.”

Mr. Sheikh said that the federal government would announce development packages for the province of Sindh. He said that the “PTI government has already announced a Sindh package of Rs. 1.1 trillion which includes Rs. 625 billion for Karachi and Rs. 446 billion for the rest of Sindh,” however, it will announce more packages. He announced, “We are also planning to provide health card to the people of Sindh.”

Read more: #PTIOwnsKarachi trends as PM Khan delivers his promise!

He said that PM Khan’s government would provide relief to Sindh by making federal institutions effective and efficient in Sindh. His comments today and in previous press conferences also exhibit PTI’s frustration on its inability to directly help people in cities like Karachi who voted overwhelmingly for PTI in the July 2018 elections. It is believed that it was mostly a negative vote against the politics of MQM. Sindh Rangers action, under directions of Supreme Court, after 2014 had broken the longstanding hold of MQM on Karachi politics and disgruntled urban youth voted for PTI as an alternative giving party an unexpected 14 seats from the city changing the dynamics of national politics. However since then PTI lacking administrative control in Sindh has not been able to do anything to serve its unexpected vote bank. And recent by-elections indicate that PTI may be losing its 2018 magic in Karachi.

PTI needs electables in Sindh

PTI is set to give tough time to Pakistan People Party (PPP) in Sindh as it aims to form a provincial government in the next general elections, PTI sources, GVS spoke with, claim. However, notwithstanding its lofty ambitions, the challenge for PTI remains to collect ‘electables’ which is how politics in Sindh works. Apparently the top leadership is fully aware of the weaknesses of its political organisation and is ready to convert it into an opportunity by bringing major political names. Recently on July 2nd, former Chief Minister Sindh, Arbab Ghulam Rahim joined the PTI.

Read more: Former CM Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim joins PTI after meeting PM

Sources have reported that PM Khan has taken a greater interest in Sindh politics after some senior leaders namely Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Opposition Leader in Sindh Haleem Adil Sheikh convinced the PTI chairman that Sindh will play a crucial role in the next elections.

Mr. Qureshi on 3rd July had claimed that the PTI would wipe out Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from Sindh in the next general elections on account of performance.

PTI Sindh local leaders have appreciated that PTI central leadership is at last taking interest in Sindh. PTI District Sujawal Vice President, Advocate Syed Imran Shah said, “We welcome PM Khan’s recent initiative on Sindh, but there is a lot to be done to make Sindh a stronghold of PTI.”

The month of August may thus define the future course of Sindh’s political history as PTI rolls out and implements its Sindh strategy.

Fahad Taherani, GVS Coordinating Editor, contributed to this news story, from Karachi, with additional input by the News Desk in Islamabad. 

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