This government will make Seraiki province: president
MULTAN: President Asif Zardari on Saturday said the people of south Punjab would be given their rights and their demand for their own Seraiki province would be fulfilled during the tenure of the incumbent government.
He was talking to a delegation of the People’s Lawyers Forum (PLF) here at the Prime Minister’s House.
The president called upon the prime minister to consult all political parties before preparing a framework to make the new province a viable option. He said it was a question of Pakistan’s future and all efforts should be undertaken to cater to the aspirations of the people.
The president also said that Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was being targeted because of his support to the Seraiki province and also for his support to the party leadership.
Spokesperson for the president, Senator Farhatullah Babar told reporters the president believed the creation of a Seraiki province was not politics but was meant to respect and honour the aspirations of the people of south Punjab, who have been feeling deprived for the last 60 years and were demanding their just rights. He said the PPP promised the people of south Punjab it would cater to their aspirations and it would do its best to honour its commitment. “If giving rights to the people is a crime, we will continue to commit such crimes,” Babar quoted the president as saying. The president said fulfilling the aspirations of the people of south Punjab would further strengthen the federation.
Earlier, the president also held separate meetings with parliamentarians belonging to south Punjab and women office-bearers of his party from Multan, Khanewal, Vehari and Lodhran districts.
During his meetings, the president said he would be regularly visiting the belt in future. He said designating a separate party president for the region showed the party’s commitment and importance the region holds for it.
The president said with a successful completion of its tenure in sight, it was time for mobilising the party at all levels and gearing up for the elections which will be held on time. The president said that unanimous adoption of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) recently for new terms of engagement with US/Nato/Isaf was no small achievement of the party. He said it is for the first time that foreign policy matters are being openly debated in parliament and the deliberations were being held in a transparent manner in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan.
He said the party by ensuring independence of the Election Commission and the selection of an impartial caretaker government was also vigorously pursuing other necessary measures so that future elections could be held in a most transparent and credible manner and that no one is able to hijack future elections.
The Election Commission, in consultation with all political parties, has undertaken the task of correcting voter lists. Making computerised NIC mandatory would banish the curse of manipulated elections forever, he added.
The president said the Benazir Income Support Programme was the government’s flagship programme which was aimed at empowering rural women economically.
President Zardari also came forward to shield the Gilani family. He said Ali Musa Gilani was falsely implicated in the drug case. He said he had gone to Multan to express solidarity with Yusuf Raza Gilani.
Meanwhile, President Zardari condoled the death of Group Captain (retd) Cecil Chaudhry, a veteran fighter pilot of the Pakistan Air Force, who died in Lahore Friday night.
President Zardari expressed his extreme grief and sorrow on the demise of Cecil Chaudhry, who was a legend of the PAF.
Expressing his deepest sympathies and profound condolence to his family, the president said Cecil Chaudhry was a great fighter pilot and a true patriot.
Earlier, President Zardari arrived in Multan by a special plane on a two-day visit. He was received by the prime minister’s son MPA Abdul Qadir Gilani, Federal Minister for Textiles and PPP South Punjab President Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Raja Riaz, Begum Belum Husnain, other party leaders and senior officials.