LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government intended to roll back the 18th constitutional amendment and wind up the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
Speaking at a ceremony held at Bahman forest near Naudero to inaugurate a biodiversity park, he warned that the government would first change the nomenclature of BISP and later reduce its funds to finally close down the programme.
The PPP had initiated the BISP to economically empower women but this [PTI] government was following a policy of making the rich richer and the poor poorer, he said.
“They are undemocratic people ... they are out to impose ‘One Unit’ by rolling back the 18th amendment,” he said.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said opponents were unnecessarily making his journey by train an issue by labeling it a ‘train march’.
Accompanied by Minister for Works and Services Syed Nasir Shah and other senior party leaders, the PPP chairman planted sampling at Bahman and released pigeons, partridges and other birds into the air.
He asked the wildlife and forest departments to prepare echo-friendly projects in forests and take measures to save birds and other animals.
SHIKARPUR: Speaking to the audience and media personnel, Mr Bhutto-Zardari severely criticised the PTI government for “political victimisation of PPP leadership”.
He said that the federal government had also meted out a step-motherly treatment by not releasing Sindh’s funds. This was causing immense hardship to the provincial government in carrying out development works and run public welfare programmes, he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was trying hard to undermine popularity of PPP and its leadership but he would never succeed in his designs.
In reply to a question about acute water shortage in Sindh, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) failed to release Sindh’s the due share in water which was devastating the province’s agriculture sector. Growers were facing huge losses and Sindh’s fertile lands were turning barren, he noted.
Responding to another question, the PPP chairman said that the forest lands illegally occupied by anyone, be it a PPP influential figure, would be retrieved and no errant person would be spared.
About Prime Minister’s Ghotki visit, he said it was the tumultuous welcome accorded to him by the people of Sindh during his [PPP chairman’s] journey through train that forced Imran Khan to rush to Sindh.
“If I will start a train march into Punjab, this will land the Niazi government in a serious trouble,” he remarked.
Khuhro defends provincial autonomy
HYDERABAD: PPP Sindh president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro has said that PPP stands for complete provincial autonomy that enables federating units to collect all taxes, which otherwise are collected by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). He was speaking to reporters at the residence of the party’s Hyderabad division president Syed Ali Nawaz Rizvi here on Sunday.
Mr Khuhro wondered why federal ministers were perturbed over Bialwal Bhutto-Zardari’s train journey form Karachi to his native district and why did it worry the federal government if 200,000 people turned up to welcome him at stations. He said PPP used to mobilise of its cadre before April 4 and Dec 27 anniversaries of its charismatic leaders. He quoted BBC as reporting the turnout to be at 1.5 million.
He ridiculed some federal ministers’ claim that it was a ‘rented crowd’. He said PPP was not responsible if Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Ghotki’s show flopped with turnout of around 2,500 people.
Condemning the PM’s statement against the 18th constitutional amendment, he remarked that “cat is out of the bag now”.
Commenting on the PM’s belief that the amendment was responsible if the federation was facing financial bankruptcy, Mr Khuhro said why was he crying if provinces were getting stronger. He also criticised the PM for making “false commitment” of Rs162bn development packages for Karachi while ignoring Ghotki.
He argued that the PPP chairman took a stand on banned outfits and mentioned some federal ministers’ links with them, he was accused of treachery by the PM but the federal government recently banned Jaish-i-Mohammad. “Wasn’t it done to please India? At whose behest it was done?”.
Mr Khuhro said Indian PM Narendra Modi did not thank Pakistan for returning its captured pilot and, rather, said it was Indian strategy that got the army officer back.
He lashed out at the PTI government for trying to change the nomenclature of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). “PPP opponents are, in fact, not comfortable with names of Bhuttos. On the spur of the moment, the PM said the name would be changed when a wadera suggested this in Ghotki,” he claimed.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2019