Govt to undo Hyderabad district’s division


Aijaz Shaikh May 10, 2010

KARACHI: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that division of Hyderabad district will be restored to its original form.

This suggestion has been received with suspicion by coalition partner, the MQM, which says that it is being treated as a political opponent and not an ally.

Chairing the second convention of PPP workers from Hyderabad division on Saturday, the prime minister made it clear that the PPP would take all coalition partners into confidence on the matter.

Terming the decision to bifurcate the division wrong, the prime minister said that the government would protect people’s rights. “Hyderabad will once again be made into one district. We are also one of the stakeholders. We cannot antagonise our own party workers. We will not allow any damage to the party. All such decisions will be taken in consultation with our coalition partners,” Gilani said.

The district was bifurcated during the reign of Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, a controversial Sindh CM.

Gilani dispelled the impression that Sindh had been deprived of 300 megawatts of electricity and said it was part of a disinformation campaign.

MQM Reaction

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has reacted strongly to the prime minister’s statement, with the party’s chief Altaf Hussain saying that some leaders and ministers of the PPP wanted to damage harmonious relations between the PPP and the MQM through their provocative statements.

In a statement issued from the MQM International Secretariat in London, Hussain said that the prime minister’s statement about Hyderabad had disheartened hundreds of citizens but they should not feel desserted. Hussain said the prime minister should avoid making any decision about Sindh without taking his coalition party into confidence.

He appealed to President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani to take immediate notice of confrontational statements by some leaders and ministers and to avert a conspiracy to end unity among the two parties.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gilani chaired another highlevel meeting which discussed ways and means to increase harmony between coalition partners. The security situation in Sindh and local government elections were also discussed.

Balochistan Leaders

In a major development in connection with dissidents in Balochistan, Prime Minister Gilani on Saturday ordered the authorities to exclude names of all Baloch leaders from the Exit Control List (ECL).

He also urged Baloch leaders to end their exile and return to the country.

Speaking to the media after meeting influential Baloch nationalist leader Sardar Attaullah Mengal at his residence in Karachi, he said the government was willing to take practical steps to remove grievances of people of the province.

The prime minister was accompanied by Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro.

The move, political analysts said, might pave the way for the return of prominent Baloch dissident leaders, including Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti and Nawabzada Ghazan Marri, who are leading armed resistance from abroad.

Prime Minister Gilani said Sardar Mengal “is right in calling for practical steps to be taken by the federal government about missing persons and for addressing the deprivation of the Baloch people.”

Gilani said he has instructed the commission set up for the implementation of constitutional reforms to meet Sardar Mengal.

Dialogue Stressed

Reiterating the government’s commitment to rectify past mistakes, he said the government did not believe in victimising anyone and urged all Baloch leaders to return to Pakistan so that issues related to the province could be addressed through talks.

During the hour-long meeting, the prime minister requested Mengal to help the government in its efforts to “bring angry Baloch leaders back” to the negotiating table. According to Online news agency, Sardar Mengal said that the removal of names of Baloch dissident leaders from the ECL was essential for creating an environment conducive for talks. (ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AGENCIES)

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