Karachi - Former Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah, who has been the face of PPP election campaign for carrying out uplift works in the province, will take the reins of Sindh government again for next five years, The Nation has learnt.

A formal announcement in this regard is likely to be made in next 72 hours.

Although the Pakistan People’s Party is yet to officially announce any name for the CM slot despite having a clear majority in the house, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had clearly hinted at reinstalling Murad as Sindh CM during a presser soon after the 2018 elections.

Murad who has won a provincial seat from the Sehwan district PS-34 is the most favourite candidate for the party to lead it in the province despite the assembly having two sisters of Asif Ali Zardari- Faryal Talpur and Azra Fazal Pechuhu- with the former one considered most influential in running the party affairs.

Nasir Hussain Shah, who was also rumoured as the top nominee for the CM slot, also confirmed it in his media talk on Wednesday at Karachi Press Club that Murad would be the provincial chief minister and Bilawal would announce mega projects for the port city of the province.

PPP Sindh General Secretary Waqar Mehdi, while talking to The Nation, said that most probably, the PPP leader Murad would once again take charge of the Sindh province and said that any final decision in this regard would be announced in 72 hours.

“A party meeting is underway at the Bilawal House today [on Thursday] where all such matters would be discussed and an announcement in this regard could be made in two to three days,” said the top provincial leader.

Why Murad Ali Shah?

Although Murad is the front runner in the race for the chief minister slot but the other names who were also rumoured included former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s two sisters - Faryal Talpur and Azra Fazal Pechuhu- who had won provincial assembly seats.

The name of the former provincial information minister Nasir Hussain Shah- who won Sindh Assembly seat from Sukkur and also remained mayor of the city in the past - was also talk of the town for the slot.

A PPP leader who wished not to be named said that there could be a chance of Faryal Talpur taking charge of the top executive post in the province, however, a complete change of mind within party happened after she was framed in a money laundering case by FIA.

He said the party won more seats in 2018 polls than previous elections but losses in some key constituencies specially in Lyari from Karachi at the hands of PTI was a setback.

Since the PTI will resume power in the centre and could use its influence to carry out uplift projects in the province to dent PPP popularity, the party decided to bring Murad who has emerged as face of development in the province and is considered more energetic and aggressive in pursuing development agenda, he said, adding, that even the political opponents had applauded his development-oriented approach.

He is portrayed as a young and energetic soul who roams in the streets and lanes of the rural and urban centres of the province even late at nights, inspecting the projects launched by the provincial government.

Bilawal’s trust

The former chief minister also enjoys complete trust of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He drove the car of the PPP chairman during the party’s road campaign across the country.

The PPP chairman expressed his support for the former chief minister in the very first presser he held after the polls on July 27.

The PPP chairman has also been accompanied by Shah in recent meetings with foreign delegates, which also shows how much trust he was enjoying of the chairman.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, PPP leaders said that party leadership specially Bilawal Bhutto had reposed his trust in Shah for fulfilling his promise of development with the people of the province during his road campaign.

It is pertinent to mention here that Bilawal had promised to monitor himself performance of the PPP-led government saying it would be his responsibility to carry out development. “I will be responsible for my lawmakers,” said Bilawal during road campaign in Sindh province.

Sindh cabinet

A source close to Murad Ali Shah told this scribe that Shah was being given a go-ahead by the party to prepare himself for assuming the duties as chief minister and making a tentative list of the cabinet members.

“A list of over 50 members is being prepared by the incoming chief minister which would be shortlisted to 18 after final discussion and approval from the Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Zardari.”

Meanwhile, sources said that those who would be included in the cabinet are: former minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Saeed Ghani, Liaquat Askani, former minister Syed Sardar Shah, Sadia Javed, Shamim Mumtaz, Nida Khuhro, one of the relative of Khursheed Shah and one from the Makhdoom family.

They further said that former speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani might also retain his position as speaker while former local bodies minister Jam Khan Shoro might not made it to the cabinet. Some other names also included Mir Shabbir Ali Bijarani, Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, Sohail Anwar Siyal, Nadir Khan Magsi, Ali Nawaz Khan Maher and Tariq Masood Arain.