KARACHI - Declaring security, healthcare and education top priorities of his government, Syed Murad Ali Shah yesterday took charge as the new chief minister of Sindh.

Murad, who was administered oath by Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan at the Governor House, is the 25th Chief Executive of the province since formation of Pakistan in 1947 and 6th chief minister of PPP since 1977.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khursheed Shah, Naveed Qamar, Qamar Zaman Qaira, members of Sindh Assembly and others.

Murad Ali is considered articulate and energetic; a good administrator and a quick decision maker.

Earlier in the day, Sindh Assembly elected him as new chief minister. Contesting as PPP candidate, he secured 88 votes against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Khurram Khuram Sher Zaman who could bag only three votes.

Other opposition parties, including PML-N, MQM and PML-F did not field any candidate for the contest.

Two lobbies of the assembly, one for the PPP and the other for PTI, were dedicated for the voting. Former CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah was the first member to cast his vote.

Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durani conducted the election and announced the victory of Murad. All the MPAs went to the seat of newly elected chief minister and congratulated him on his success.

Addressing the assembly after his election, the new CM said that law and order, health services and education would be the top priorities of his government. “I’m focused and have clear targets to make Sindh safe, secure, healthy, wealthy and literate."

Remembering his parents, Murad wished that his parents had witnessed that special moment, “but I know that they are around in spirit.”

He said he was missing his leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and her ‘constant presence’ in his life. He said Benazir’s contribution in putting democracy on track and strengthening democratic forces in a country stand unmatched in history.

Syed Murad Ali said, "As we enter into a new phase of governance, I strongly believe in continuation of party policies with particular focus on three key areas... The first of these is law and order - without which no sustainable progress can be achieved. The second is healthcare- a basic right of every citizen and the third is education - which will be the most important investment in our future."

He said that "the role of all law enforcement agencies, civil and military, is truly commendable but much more needs to be done". He said his focus would be to fight against anyone and anything that threatened the security of the province and its people.

The new CM said that his aim was to ensure that every citizen feels safe, every child that is born is healthy and every mother is strong enough to nurture her child.

"I see this province where parents would have no difficulty in educating their children and the young would be able to receive quality education and job opportunities according to their abilities."

He urged everyone, right from the members of the house to the people belonging to different other strata to come over to work for a stronger and healthier Sindh.

"Alone we may go fast but together we will go far," he quoted a saying and urged upon everyone to come forward, not just in words but in actions to improve the situation."

"Let's work together for a cleaner Karachi, a greener Thar and a safer Sindh."

Murad Shah said he might not be able to explain his programme in one speech he was delivering but his actions would speak for them.

Appreciating the role of media, the CM said they had always worked to strengthen democracy. "I assure you that I would be fixing the problems as you [media] would be pointing them out," he pledged.

Earlier, Qaim Ali Shah congratulated Murad and said he was son of his old friend Syed Abdullah Shah.

All house members paid rich tribute Qaim Shah by thumping benches.

Nisar Khuhro said it was not only Murad’s success but also of the PPP and the people of Sindh.

MQM MPA Rauf Siddiqui, who reached the assembly from Central Prison, congratulated newly elected CM and asked him to enquire that why MQM did not take part in the election process.