The prime minister had asked him to visit Sindh but he did not condescend to see the Sindh chief minister, neither did he take the trouble to attend the senate session even though he was ordered by the premier, he said.
“Even if one puts aside the fact whether Qaim Ali Shah is the captain of the Karachi operation or not, he is an elected chief executive of a province who deserves respect,” he said.
Mr Chandio was speaking to members of the business community at the Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) and answering to journalists’ questions here on Saturday.
He complained that the federal government did not appear serious about Sindh’s concerns with regards to Rangers powers and said it would hasten to blame the provincial government again whenever the issue emerged again.
Just a few days back it looked like the issue had become a matter of life and death for the federation but now the Centre had become completely indifferent to it. “I feel Chaudhry Nisar behaves like a viceroy although he may not be doing it intentionally. Even when he speaks in parliament it appears like he is dictating everybody like a headmaster,” he said.
Mr Chandio said that the Sindh chief minister did not have to face Nisar’s attitude. He behaved in this fashion even with the prime minister; Mr Sharif had asked him to visit Sindh but he did not, neither did he attend senate session even though the prime minister had advised him to do so, he said.
He said the earnestness and haste the interior minister had shown earlier over the issue appeared to have evaporated now, although one should remember the issue would raise its head again in the coming days.
“We shared several things with the prime minister at a recent meeting. [Where it was said] the federation can work only when the federating units are respected. The CM had taken up various issues in unambiguous terms and expressed reservations keeping in mind sanctity of institutions,” he said.
“Those who want to save the federation should take notice of the situation. We think, first of all it is the duty of the prime minister and then the National Assembly to take stock of the state of affairs. Other institutions come after them,” he said, adding the issues were always resolved through talks and not through confrontation.
Mr Chandio said the Sindh government was proud of the Rangers-led operation. When industrialists and traders were satisfied with prevailing peaceful conditions, unrest among people would not suit the government either, he said.
He dismissed opposition parties’ alliance as insignificant and said the PPP faced no threat from it. The only party or individual with some presence in assemblies was that of Pir Pagara while others were just there for fun, he said.
He wondered who would dare say that the governments of Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Liaquat Ali Jatoi were ideal. “We are not afraid of this ‘grenade’ alliance,” he said in a lighter vein.
Mr Chandio rejected criticism of the Sindh government over recurring deaths of newborns in Thar and said that children also died in Lahore because of unavailability of oxygen.
He admitted there was still wide room for improvement in Thar but insisted the conditions were not that alarming. “It has been a backward area for centuries and it will take centuries more to turn things around in the desert region,” he said.
No doctor was willing to work in Thar although they were given special packages. “Doctors run away from Thar,” he remarked.
He was highly critical of media coverage of the children’s deaths and said the reporting was highly exaggerated. “How can a newborn die from lack of food? Parents may be facing such food issues,” he said.
He criticised ‘those sitting in Islamabad and earning their livelihood by selling pictures of poor Tharis in tatters’ but also admitted to the need for putting in place permanent oversight system in Thar.
Later, HCCI head Goharullah drew the minister’s attention to the problems being faced the business community including development of SITE phase-II, investment, encroachment on welfare plots, lawlessness etc to which Mr Chandio assured him of playing the role of a bridge between the chamber and the government to get their problems resolved. -Dawn