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KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said he is against frequent police encounters across the country as the challenge of terrorism can not be dealt with by means of deadly encounters and demanded some mechanism to put a check on this practice.

The PPP chairman stated this in reply to a question after launching the party membership drive here on Sunday at PPP Media Cell at Bilawal House in Clifton.

PPP Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Sindh PPP President Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Balochistan PPP President Haji Ali Madad Jattak, Senator Sherry Rehman, Maula Bux Chandio, MNA Nafisa Shah, provincial minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Waqar Mehdi and others were present.

Asked about the Senate elections in March, the PPP chairman said he wanted that Senate elections be held on time so that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz could be defeated.

Responding to a question about the joint opposition’s public meeting in Lahore, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said Dr Tahirul Qadri himself admitted that the crowd dispersed after Asif Ali Zardari had left the public meeting venue. This was the proof of PPP’s popularity among the masses, he added.

PPP launches website, SMS service for membership drive

He said his party wanted united opposition so that every issue could be solved in parliament. “We have also tried to field a joint candidate during the election of new prime minister but Imran Khan fielded his own candidate,” he said, adding that Mr Khan’s move weakened the joint opposition.

In reply to another question, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the overall law and order situation had improved in Sindh. He said that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took immediate action against SSP Rao Anwar after doubts were raised against the killing of a youngster in an encounter and also ordered thorough investigation. At the same time, he added, the police officer must also be given the right to clarify his position.

Extending invitation to all progressive Pakistanis, especially the youth, to join him in the struggle for a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Pakistan, the PPP chairman said he could not bring about social change without their active participation in the service-oriented politics.

He said that a door-to-door membership campaign would be conducted through camps and by utilising all modern communication methods. He elaborated that a website (www.pppmember.com) and an SMS service would be launched to reach out to all the Pakistanis who were against extremism and politics of hatred. The drive would further reduce gap between him and party members, he added.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said when the PPP was in power in the centre it launched the Benazir Income Support Programme for the less privileged people of the country. In Sindh, he said, the PPP government initiated an anti-poverty programme at the union council level. With the help of this programme, interest-free loans were provided to 600,000 poverty-stricken families in rural areas, he said.

Referring to the philosophy of service-oriented politics, he said the party took concrete steps for devolution of power and National Finance Commission Award in a bid to discourage extremism and promote democratic values. He said the government provided state-of-the-art health facilities including free of cost heart treatment at the four newly established satellite hospitals of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in Hyderabad, Tando Moham­­mad Khan, Larkana and Sehwan Sharif.

He called upon the people, especially the youth, to join the service-oriented positive politics and show doors to those doing politics of negativity and insults.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2018