Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has called upon the Prime Minister to immediately start consultative process with all the political parties with a view to make a separate Seraiki province in South Punjab.
This he said during his meeting with the delegation of Peoples’ lawyer forum here at Prime Minister’s House Multan today.
Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar while giving details of the meetings held today said that the President said that this was not politics but was meant to respect and honour the aspiration of the people of South Punjab who have been feeling deprived for the last over sixty years and were demanding their just rights.
The President said that the Party promised giving identity to the people of Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw and we fulfilled our promise. Similarly we gave rights to our Balochi brothers and the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Now, he said, we have promised the people of this belt to cater to their aspirations and we would do our best to honour our commitment.
He said that the people of this area have every right to demand and have their own province and Party leadership respected their wishes and aspirations. He said that this was the right time to give what people have been asking for so long. “If giving rights to the people is a crime, we will continue to commit such crimes”, Senator Babar quoted the President as saying.
The President said that meeting the aspirations of the people of South Punjab would further strengthen the federation and not weaken it. He vowed to give the rights to the people of South Punjab during the tenure of the present Government.
The President called upon the Prime Minister to consult all the political parties in preparing a framework to make the new province a viable one. He said that this 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 Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was being targeted because of his support to the Seraiki province and also for his support to the Party’s leadership.
Earlier, the President also had separate meetings, one with the parliamentarians belonging to South Punjab and the other with the women office bearers of the Party belonging to Multan, Khanewal, Vehari and Lodhran districts.
During his meetings, the President said that he felt great pleasure to be present among the representatives of the South Punjab and he would be regularly visiting the belt in future also.
The President said that Party attaches great importance to the welfare of the people belonging to the Southern Punjab. He said that designating a separate president of the Party for this region shows our commitment and the importance this region holds for us.
Discussing current situation with the Parliamentarians, the President said that the landmark legislations, important social protection measures and other steps taken to strengthen the democratic institutions and procedures clearly reflected that the Party was the only force to bring about real change in the country. Despite all the baggage of the past regime and continued efforts of the detractors, the Party has to its credit many achievements which others can only imagine, he said.
The President said that with successful completion of tenure in sight, it was time for mobilising the Party at all levels and to gear up for the elections which will be held on time.
The President while discussing developmental projects and welfare activities for the people, advised the parliamentarians to reach out to their people and undertake all efforts to address their problems and issues on priority basis.
Discussing current situation, the President said that unanimous adoption of recommendations of Parliamentary Committee on National Security recently for new terms of engagement with US/NATO/ISAF was no small achievement of the Party as it is for the first time that foreign policy matters were being openly debated in the Parliament and the deliberations were being held in a transparent manner in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan.
He said that the Party through ensuring independence of the Election Commission and the selection of an impartial care taker government, was also vigorously pursuing other necessary measures so that the future elections could be held in a most transparent and credible manner and that no one is able to hijack the future elections.
The Election Commission in consultation with all the political parties has undertaken the task of correcting voters’ lists. Making computerised NIC mandatory would banish the curse of manipulated elections for ever, he continued.
The President said that despite rumours factories running at maximum speed and each day being predicted as last one for the Government, but we have successfully continued with our march towards the welfare of the people and strengthening of democracy in the country. From the day one, we have followed policy of reconciliation and taken all political forces on board on major decisions as it is what we have been trained by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. Let history remember our leadership and the Party that shunned the politics of vendetta and victimization.
The President called upon the parliamentarians to highlight various achievements of the Government among the people so that the negative propaganda is automatically countered and the voters are proud of the achievements of the Party they had voted for.
The President said also advised the parliamentarians not to let the impatience and lack of tolerance of their political opponents deflect their attention from the welfare of the people. Our large heartedness is our asset and should be used for our political advantage, he said.
The Parliamentarians of the Party also spoke on current issues and apprised the President about the issues of their constituents.
Those who were present during the meeting included MNAs, Makhdoom Shahab-ud-Din, Nawab Liaqat, Ms. Naseem Chaudhary, Mr. Abdul Qadir Gillani, Mr. Iftikhar Nazir, Ms. Natasha Daultana, Mr. Mehmood Hayat and Mr. Asghar Jatt. MPAs present during the meeting included Mr. Aamir Dogar, Mr. Nazim Shah, Mr. Aamir Ghani, Mr. Ahmed Mujtaba Gillani, Mr. Jamil Shah, Mr. Akram Kanjo, Mr. Ijaz Noon Mr. Shafique Araein, Mr. Fayyaz Waraich and Sardar Khan Khichi.
The meeting with the Parliamentarians was followed by another meeting with the women office bearers of the Party of Multan, Lodhran, Khanewal and Vehari districts.
The President advised the women office bearers also to reach out to the women voters and to provide help in addressing their issues. He said that Party was committed to the welfare of the vulnerable groups of the society especially the women and has undertaken many important legislative, political and social measures for the welfare of the women. He said that participation of the womenfolk was imperative for socio-economic development and no headway can be made without their visible and active participation.
He said that Benazir Income Support Program was government’s flagship program which was aimed at empowering the rural women economically. He said that many components of the program such as Wascela-e-Haq, Waecla-e-Rozagar and Wasela-e-Sehat were serving as major vehicle for socio-economic empowerment of the women especially in the rural areas.
He also recounted various legislative measures such as “Women Protection from Harassment at Workplace Act 2010, Amendment in PPC 509, Acid Crime Prevention Act 2011, the Prevention of anti-Women Practices Act 2011, Fund for Women in Distress and Detention Act 2011 , and empowerment of National Commission on the Status of Women as major steps that reflected government’s commitment and efforts to address women-related issues for their greater participation in the national mainstream.
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