May 292013



When former chief minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, MPA-elect from PS-60, Tharparkar I, was asked why he was missing from oath-taking ceremony during the maiden session of Sindh Assembly session on Wednesday, he simply replied that he was in Islamabad.


“The oath can be taken any time,” he added.


However, a source within his party, the People’s Muslim League, said he might surrender the seat as he was eyeing the NA-229 for which the election commission has announced re-polling on June 1.


His trip to Islamabad is being considered a significant one, as he has already merged his party with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.


“He will obviously win the NA-229 seat, the insider said.


“The Arbab-group has a strong vote bank in Tharparkar, Badin, Mirpurkhas and Umerkot and now with Nawaz Sharif’s backing, he is bound to win the NA seat.”


Experts believe that Rahim may not want to face the PPP in provincial assembly. Talking to The News, Rahim complained about the misbehaviour of PPP legislators and condemned the rumpus created by political activists in the Sindh Assembly’s visitors’ gallery during the oath-taking ceremony.


He pointed out that the oath-taking ceremony at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly took place in a very congenial and peaceful atmosphere. “The PPP leaders have always disturbed the decorum of the House.”


During the tenure of the last Sindh Assembly, Rahim had attended only one session – the oath-taking ceremony in April 2008. That day, a political activist named Aga Pathan in the visitors’ gallery had struck him with s show. After the embarrassing episode, he had left for Dubai.


Pathan was arrested by Preedy police the very next day. However, he was acquitted for lack of evidence.


Because of Rahim’s absence from the House for 40 consecutive days, his seat was declared vacant on March 22, 2012.


Rahim returned to the country on March 12 this year and arrived at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore due to security concerns and also to avoid being arrested. The PML-N had accorded him a warm welcome.


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