MITHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will inaugurate the Mai Bakhtawar Airport, built near Islamkot town at a cost of Rs1 billion, on Wednesday, party sources said.

All arrangements have been finalised for the inauguration ceremony, they said.

It is learnt that Mr Bhutto-Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and senior officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would attend the opening ceremony.

Spokespersons for the CM House and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), speaking to this reporter on Tuesday, said that after the ceremony, the PPP chairman would visit various sites of the Thar Coal project’s block-II as well as the model village and mining field.

Construction of the airport, spread over an area of 1,000 acres, has been completed in about four years at a cost of around Rs1 billion. Initially, it was to be named as Thar airport and the insignia was also installed atop the building of its arrival and departure lounges. However, it has now been named after a peasant leader, Mai Bakhtawar Lashari, who had laid down her life on June 22, 1947 fighting against a feudal lord near Jhudo town of Mirpurkhas district.

Modern machinery, equipment and facilities have been made available at the installation. The airport has a three-kilometre-long runway, according to an official.

Our Nawabshah Correspondent adds: PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari could not travel to Islamabad on Tuesday due to bad weather conditions caused by heavy rains in the federal capital and upper Punjab, party sources said.

The former head of state did arrive at the Nawabshah airport to leave for Islamabad but was informed that weather conditions in and around the federal capital were not favourable for air traffic.

Mr Zardari decided to postpone his travel and drove back to Zardari House, the sources said.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018