PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has hit out at the government for its ‘anti-farmer policies’ as he accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of focusing on development of upper Punjab at the expense of the rest of the country.
Addressing a rally in the Jamaldinwali area of Rahim Yar Khan district, Bilawal said his grandfather and PPP’s founding chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had promised ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makaan’ because he had envisioned Pakistan as an egalitarian society.
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Today many claim to be the saviour of the poor but only Zulfikar Ali Bhutto sacrificed his life for the poor, he said. “I will continue the mission of my grandfather and my mother Benazir Bhutto.”
Bilawal said South Punjab was deprived of basic facilities, including health, water and education. The situation is not different in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he added.
He said the PML-N was spending Rs162 billion on the Orange Line train, which was a project for 200,000 people of Lahore. “This amount is much more than the total budget of south Punjab, which has a population of 40 million,” he added. “Some people are conspiring against the country for their personal interests.”
Talking about the plight of peasants, he asked why inflation was increasing rapidly and farmers were going bankrupt. “Everyone knows what the incumbent government has done for growers,” he said.
Bilawal said billions of rupees in subsidies were being doled out to sugar mills but no relief was provided to growers due to which agriculture was badly affected. “Due to the incompetence of Nawaz Sharif and his bad policies, Pakistan’s exports are decreasing rapidly.”
The PPP chairman said whenever a farmer was about to get the deserving returns on his crops, the government imported vegetables from India and pushed him back to his miseries. “All the economic activity is linked to farmers, and if they are not prosperous, then Pakistan cannot prosper,” he said.
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Listing the PPP government’s efforts for progress in south Punjab, he said history was witness that his party always struggled for the rights of people of this region. “We elected a prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, from south Punjab, and during the PPP’s tenure record funds were spent on the region.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2016.