KARACHI: Sindh minister for archives, Rafique Engineer, said on Tuesday evening that the government will issue Benazir Income Support Programme Cards for the people affected by the operation in Lyari.
“Ten to twelve thousand rupees a month will make the innocent people forget everything,” he claimed. He said this at a press conference on Tuesday evening.
Engineer said that some people had been conspiring against the PPP since 2003. He said that it was decided before the operation that all the political parties will cleanse criminals from their ranks and PPP is doing the same. “Hence, we began from our hometown,” he said. “It should not be misunderstood as an operation against Lyari. The Peoples Amn Committee has no relation to the Pakistan Peoples Party.” Engineer said that it was high time the Rangers also came to Lyari.
The PPP leaders, Waja Karim Dad, Anwar Bhai, Malik Mohammad Khan, Hasan Soomro were all killed in Lyari. He asserted that other parties should also carry out operations in their areas and members. Sindh relief minister, Muzaffar Shujra, and the IG were also present at Sindh Secretariat. IG Mushtaq Shah assured that the situation in Lyari was getting better and there had been tremendous progress in the last 24 hours. He claimed that the police had killed a notorious criminal Tariq.
Earlier in the day, in yet another press conference, Shazia Marri said that the ongoing operation was not directed towards the people of Lyari, but at the terrorists who have taken control of the area.
“We are watching the operation with heavy hearts. No one is happy with what is going on in Lyari.” Marri referred to the policemen who died as martyrs and said that the government will pay for the treatment of two cameramen who were injured.
International Labour Day
However, Marri reserved most of her talk for the International Labour Day and paid a tribute to the Chicago labourers who struggled for attaining basic rights. She then wasted no time in lashing out at Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief. “He [Nawaz Sharif] tries to become a champion of democracy. [But] he dismissed 7,000 employees of the United Bank Limited during his tenure.”
Marri added that 500,000 workers have benefited from the Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme, as they now own 12 per cent shares of state-run enterprises.
Marri said that 8,000 jobs were terminated when Nawaz Sharif was in power, 6,000 of which have since been reinstated. She credited the government with removing restrictions on trade unions and reviving labour appellate tribunals. “The minimum wage has been increased to Rs8,000, which demonstrates the present government’s dedication to provide rights to labourers.”
Marri added that permanent jobs were given to nearly 4,732 employees of Pakistan Steel Mills, 5,000 of Pakistan International Airline, 4,500 of Civil Aviation Authority and 3,000 of Sui Southern Gas Company and the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited. Under the labour policy, people between the ages of 14 and 18 years will not be allowed to work under hazardous conditions. Marri added that a Rs50 million grant was also given to the Karachi Union of Journalists.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2012.