HYDERABAD, Oct 15: The Pakistan People’s Party demonstrated its political prowess here on Monday with a big public meeting in a ground off the National Highway.
The meeting, which was addressed by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Federal Ministers Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Qamar Zaman Kaira and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and other PPP leaders, adopted a resolution in support of the Sindh People’s Local Government Act, 2012. They termed it a law that was in larger interest of Sindh.
It praised the political acumen of PPP Co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari and said a handful of enemies of democracy would not be able to mislead people.
The meeting condemned the attack on Malala Yousufzai, Shazia and Kainat by the Taliban.
“Those who say that the PPP is dividing Sindh are living in a fool’s paradise,” said Yousuf Raza Gilani. He urged the nationalists to talk to the government on the local government law. The PPP is a federal party that has deep roots in all the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The former prime minister said it was the PPP government led by him that had given autonomy to the provinces. Now it is up to the provinces to choose a system that suits them. “But you [opponents] can’t change opinion with the use of bullets,” he said.
The PPP government gave jobs, ensured women’s empowerment and brought bills to support minorities, he said, adding that had these things been given to East Pakistan it would not have seceded.Mr Gilani disputed the findings of a survey which says that PPP’s political popularity has declined: “This sea of people shows that our popularity graph has risen.”
Referring to Hamza Shahbaz’s statement about Ali Baba and 40 thieves, he said: “People don’t know that Ali Baba was a pious man.”
About the Swiss letter, he said: “My viewpoint has been vindicated by the judiciary. I had been saying that President Zardari enjoys immunity. My sacrifice was not in vain, it has saved institutions.”
He said Mr Zardari had raised pro-Pakistan slogans after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
Amin Fahim praised Mr Zardari for working for progress of the country and said people were with the PPP and its enemies would fail to defeat it because every child was with this party.
Qamar Zaman Kaira recalled that when the PPP-led government took over in 2008 terrorists were gaining space and the entire world had doubts about Pakistan’s future.
“We didn’t have enough wheat, urea and chilli and the country had to import 2.5 million tons of wheat, but today we have surplus crops,” he said.
“The PPP doesn’t believe in concentration of powers. Powerful provinces make a powerful federation.”
Mr Kaira said PPP’s founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the biggest nationalist of Pakistan.
Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said the PPP had formed the government after crossing rivers of blood. “Let others render such sacrifices.” He said PML-N president Nawaz Sharif was roaming about in Sindh, patronising the nationalists, but “even their [nationalists] neighbours don’t know them”.
He said that if there was any Sindh card it belonged to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari.
Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Khuhro said that attacks on PPP leaders reflected opponents’ jealousy. “It is because the government is going to complete its five-year term after a long time. You can’t scare us with such attacks,” he said.
He criticised the Convenor of the Sindh Bachayo Committee, Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, for switching off lights and running away from the Sindh Assembly, instead of presiding over an assembly session as the deputy speaker, when the PPP was to table a resolution against Kalabagh Dam.
PPP Sindh vice president and federal minister Maula Bux Chandio claimed that nationalists had been seeking PPP tickets. “Younger Palejo [Ayaz Latif] should recall that he had come to Bilawal House to seek PPP’s ticket for his paternal uncle,” he said.
He said Mumtaz Bhutto had joined the PML-N because Nawaz Sharif was thinking that he would form a confederation.
Sindh Minister Agha Siraj Durrani criticised PML-N leaders Syed Ghaus Ali Shah and Marvi Memon and said they worked as ‘money-changers’ of Nawaz Sharif in Sindh.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon accused a nephew of PML-N leader Imdad Chandio of being involved in throwing explosive devices in Larkana and said the government had video-clips and his confessional statement.
He said PPP’s jiyalas would not let anyone cast an evil eye on Sindh. “We will not hand over Sindh to extortionists cum-nationalists and we know ‘takht-i-Lahore’ is pulling their strings.”
The meeting adopted a resolution, saying that the PPP would not allow anti-people elements to bargain away or rob Sindh’s rights.