Prime Minister Gilani and President Zardari. – File Photo

MULTAN: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday called upon Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to immediately start consultative process with all the political parties with a view to make a separate Seraiki province in South Punjab.

The president said this during his meeting with a delegation of Peoples' lawyer forum here.

Spokesperson to the president Senator Farhatullah Babar while giving details of the meeting said that the president was of the view that it was not politics but meant to respect and honour the aspiration of the people of South Punjab who have been feeling deprived for over sixty years and were demanding their just rights.

The president said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) promised giving identity to the people of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa 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 the party’s leadership respect 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 also said that PM 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.

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