PPP says ready to work with MQM despite differences

Published January 4, 2023
PPP Chairman Bila­wal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to media in Dadu on Tuesday. — PPP/Twitter
PPP Chairman Bila­wal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to media in Dadu on Tuesday. — PPP/Twitter

DADU: PPP Chairman Bila­wal Bhutto-Zardari said on Tue­s­day his party would continue to work with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) despite differences, an assurance that did little to placate PPP’s ally in the Centre, as the MQM later in the day announced a protest for Jan 9 if local government polls were held without fresh delimitation.

Taking to the media in Zafarabad village during his visit to the flood-hit Khairpur Nathan Shah in Dadu district, Mr Bhutto-Zardari thanked the nation for supporting flood-hit people, but called for more assistance as winter had aggravated their problems.

Commenting on his party’s issues with the MQM, the foreign minister said the two parties have had differences in the past and would do so in the future also, but they would continue to work together.

He underscored the need to work together on the provincial local bodies’ law to make it stronger, adding that the PPP was ready to talk to the MQM to resolve all issues and all its reservations would be addressed. He said some PPP leaders had reservations about the delay in local bodies’ elections.

He was accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers Syed Nasir Shah, Sharjeel Inam Memon and Jam Khan Shoro and local lawmakers.

Blankets for flood-hit

On the devastating floods that hit the country in mid-June, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said some areas of Dadu district and other parts of Sindh were still inundated and the affected people needed blankets, warm clothes and other items amid the extreme cold.

To a question, he said the federal government, through the Benazir Income Support Programme, was supporting the flood-hit people, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced the release of extra cash through the programme for the benefit of the people.

He said the loss of lives and billions of dollars in flood could not be covered within a short time.

Bilawal seeks more aid for flood-hit as winter aggravates problems

He announced that the federal and provincial governments would present flood rehabilitation plans to the world at the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan on Jan 9 at Davos. “We will ensure that we get support from around the world and help the people affected by climate change to stand on their feet,” he stressed.

The PPP chief said that after the floods, a crisis had arisen in every sector, including agriculture, and the health and educational infrastructure had been badly damaged, adding that 50 per cent of educational institutions had been destroyed in Sindh.

Answering a question, he said the development and rehabilitation of the country, especially Sindh, would soon begin thro­ugh a public-private partnership. Sindh provided a wind energy corridor and solar and green zones would be established here. He further said power would be generated and supplied at cheap rates.

Earlier, the foreign minister took an aerial view of the flood-hit areas by air and also got a briefing on their rehabilitation. He also visited the flooded Ramanpur village of Khairpur Nathan Shah by road.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari also condoled with PPP MNA Irfan Leghari and former MNA Imran Leghari over the death of their father, former federal minister Haji Zafar Leghari.

PTI marches ‘a failure’

Taking a dig at PTI chief Imran Khan, the foreign minister said the former premier launched two long marches to achieve his goal of early elections but failed both times.

He also said PTI lawmakers were avoiding appearing before the National Assembly speaker to verify their resignations, and whenever Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called them, their senior party leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pervez Khattak disappeared, delaying the matter themselves.

The PPP chief remarked that Mr Khan didn’t want political stability and that his politics was damaging the country.

Referring to the former prime minister’s statement that his PTI government was negotiating with Afghanistan to “resettle” the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the country, the foreign minister said it was akin to supporting terrorism.

“The one who called us imported was importing terrorism. Today, PTI representatives are themselves paying extortion to the Taliban,” he remarked.

Speaking about the rising wave of terrorism, he said Waziristan and Karachi had been cleared after military operations, after which they had decided not to compromise on the integrity and sovereignty of the country.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2023

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