KARACHI - The tiff between Sindh and Centre on the issue of Rangers powers remained unresolved as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday had a brief interaction with Sindh chief minister at the airport and flew back to Islamabad after attending some functions where the CM was conspicuously absent.

Sindh government sources said that Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan had gone to the airport to receive the PM as a protocol duty.

Ebad was latter present at an award ceremony of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) but Qaim was nowhere to be seen. The chief minister also did not accompany the PM as he went to review the Port Qasim Authority projects.

Sources said the prime minister has however asked Qaim Shah to come to Islamabad where they would discuss in detail the matter relating to the policing powers of Rangers.

Though officially PM was not scheduled to hold any meeting with the CM on issues of the province, in the backdrop of tense situation, it was expected that he could hold and impromptu meeting at the airport with him to at least discuss the thorniest issue which has brought Centre and Sindh in confrontation.

The prime minister, who arrived in the metropolis on a day-long visit, was accompanied by federal ministers Ishaq Dar (Finance), Khawaja Asif (Water and Power) and Khurram Dastgir (Trade and Commerce).

Speaking at the FPCCI 39th Annual Export Awards Distribution Ceremony he referred to Karachi’s security situation and congratulated Rangers DG Major Gen Bilal Akber, IGP and Sindh chief secretary for restoring peace in the biggest city of the county which is also the business hub of Pakistan.

He said that restoration of peace in the metropolis was a Herculean task which his government has taken up and they launched operation in Karachi in September 2013, just after two month of coming into power by taking onboard all stakeholders.

The PM commented that the Rangers’ operation ? as “difficult” as it is ? was a testament to his government’s commitment to rooting out terrorism and extremism from Pakistan. “Look at Pakistan three years ago,” he said. “Look at Karachi seven years ago, and then look at Pakistan and Karachi today. There is no comparison.”

Premier Nawaz expressed confidence that foreign investors and exporters who had previously refused to come to Karachi and discuss business would now arrive in droves due to his government’s efforts. “In six to eight months, the ones who did not want to come will now call you and ask you to invite them,” he said.

Sindh government which recently sought to curtail Rangers powers but it effort was scuttled by the federal government. The two governments have been on warpath since Rangers raided some government offices in Karachi to fight corruption, which the paramilitary force says is the main cause of perpetuation of terrorism and culture of violence in the port city. But the real panic came when Rangers arrested Dr Asim Hussain, a close aide of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari under terrorism charges.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the other day alleged that PML-N government was using National Action Plan (NAP) to victimise political opponents instead of curbing terrorism and militancy.

“This is not that real action plan which all the political parties had agreed upon; this is Nawaz League’s action plan which is being used to target political opponents,” he said while addressing a rally on the occasion of 8th death anniversary of his slain mother and former PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto.