Seraiki province a solution to many problems: Zardari

Published January 31, 2018
DERA GHAZI KHAN: PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari addresses a press conference on Tuesday.
DERA GHAZI KHAN: PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari addresses a press conference on Tuesday.

DERA GHAZI KHAN: On a visit to the historic shrine city of Taunsa Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that the Senate elections would be held on time.

Lamenting that lawmakers on the opposition benches had not been granted development funds by the Punjab government, Mr Zardari pointed out that during the PPP’s government (2008-2013), lawmakers had been given funds regardless of whether they sat on the treasury benches or not. “This is against the spirit of democracy,” he noted.

The former president visited Taunsa Sharif for the first time on an invitation from the sajjada nasheen (custodian) of the shrine of of Hazrat Shah Sulaiman Taunsvi of the Chishti order. He spent a busy Tuesday meeting at least 37 custodians of shrines.

Later at a press conference, the PPP leader said he had observed a stark difference in the development of central Punjab and south Punjab. He deplored that there was barely any development in the Seraiki belt.

Says Senate elections will be held on time

To a question about relations with India, Mr Zardari said that the PPP desired harmonious ties with its neighbour, however, under Narendra Modi, there could be no hope for a secular India — the kind of country Nehru and Gandhi had struggled hard to create. Comparing the Indian prime minister to fascist leaders Hitler and Mussolini, Mr Zardari said that Mr Modi’s politics was entirely negative.

When a reporter suggested that the PPP leader should meet with “mazloom” former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Mr Zardari responded by asking what kind of oppressed person travels in long motorcades to attend court proceedings where they have been charged with looting millions of rupees of public money.

Commenting on what the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is expected to have in store for south Punjab, Mr Zardari said in order to ascertain that it was important to study the case of Chinese investment in Mongolia and the terms of trade and investment signed with the government there. “Only then will we realise the shortcomings of CPEC in Pakistan,” he said.

The former president attended a workers convention at the residence of PPP MPA Khawja Nizamul Mehmood and spoke to workers there in Seraiki. There were no more hurdles to the establishment of a Seraiki province, he said, explaining that the creation of a separate province could help solve a lot issues in south Punjab.

He visited the graves of sufi saints of the Chishti order — Hazrat Shah Sulaiman Taunsvi and Hazrat Nizamudin Taunsivi. He was received at the shrine of Hazrat Shah Sulaiman Taunsvi by Khawja Atta Ullah, the custodian. Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and former governor Ahmed Mehmood had accompanied Mr Zardari on a chopper from a Multan.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2018*

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