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NAWABSHAH: Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P) president Asif Ali Zardari, who previously served as the head of state, has said that every family without a member in government service would be given the chance to have at least one member in state service if his party came to power again in the next general elections.

He was speaking to delegations of traders and other notables of Nawabshah who called on him at his residence, Zardari House, here on Tuesday. He said PPP would create employment opportunities for a maximum number of jobless people.

Mr Zardari said that agriculture was the backbone of the national economy and, as such, its uplift was of utmost importance. He said farmers and peasants would be provided all essential resources on a priority basis to ensure a boost to the agricultural sector.

He noted that the country was facing an acute shortage of water at the moment. To overcome it, dams should be built so that water could be conserved, he said. It’s the need of the hour, he added.

He held the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government responsible for the multiple crises being faced by the country, saying that its flawed policies had totally ruined the national economy.

He said the PML-N government put the masses in a tight spot by resorting to raising fuel prices on a monthly basis.

Speaking about development works in Shaheed Benazirabad (previously Nawab­shah) district, Mr Zardari said that [a future] PPP government in Sindh would focus more on health, education, communication and development which would bring about a rapid change in this part of the province.

“We will also work on a project of generating electricity with sewage,” he told the delegations.

The PPP supremo further said that sugar mills and other industrial units functioning in Nawabshah would be shifted outside the city under a plan to transform it into a model city. He stressed that the general elections must be held on time.

SUKKUR: Former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, who is contesting on NA-206 Sukkur seat, on Tuesday rebutted his opponents’ claim that he and his party had practically done nothing for the uplift of Sukkur division.

Speaking to party workers at an Eid Milan gathering in Rohri late on Monday evening, Mr Shah said it was he who had actively worked for the strengthening of one of the vital protective bunds, the Ali Wahan bund, near Rohri after it had sustained considerable damage during the 2010 super floods.

“Had it not been strengthened, the situation may have led to a disaster,” he said, adding that he and many of his party colleagues had to spend several sleepless nights to ensure timely and proper completion of the work. The repair work had been continuing day and night, he recalled.

“No one of those levelling such allegations against me and the PPP were seen anywhere in those difficult days,” he said.

Mr Shah specially mentioned the Sukkur bypass scheme and said it was approved back in 1989 but later shelved by the PML-N government. “We revived it after coming to power and executed it,” he said, and added that Sukkur city might have remained a small city of narrow lanes disconnected from several other cities had the scheme not been executed. “People would have the only option of boats as the transport means to travel to and from Sukkur till today in the absence of this bypass,” he said.

Mr Shah also rejected as ridiculous his opponents’ allegation of land grabbing against him, and said he would withdraw from the elections if such an allegation against him or any of his family members was proved.

“Rather, we acted as defenders of state-owned lands ... we retrieved such properties worth over Rs9 billion from encroachers in Sukkur and protected them from being grabbed again,” he added.

The PPP stalwart referred to the party manifesto and said that it promised no tax be levied on agriculture income. Moreover, he said, it pledged doubling the salaries of government employees and financial assistance for the needy families through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Mr Shah said it was the PPP that ensured provincial autonomy through constitutional amendment, and said provinces would be given greater autonomy if the party came to power again.

Khursheed Shah also attended separate Eid Milan parties organised by the Hindu community in Kandhra town near Rohri and by a seminary, Madressah Ghousia, in Sukkur.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2018