HYDERABAD: Proclaiming his plan to further strengthen poverty alleviation programmes, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has claimed that the PPP-led Sindh government is the one which has actually reduced poverty and worked in health sector.
"Now the people have to decide whether they want metro buses of Punjab, trees of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or poverty reduction measures of Sindh. We build hospitals which provide free medical treatment. We take measures to reduce poverty," Bilawal said on Monday.
The PPP chief was speaking at a ceremony organised by the Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) in Sindh’s Sukkur district. He said non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were instrumental in implementation of poverty alleviation initiatives and denounced the federal government crackdown on the NGOs.
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"After winning 2018 general elections with people’s support, we will expand and make more functional the Benazir Income Support Programme and other projects to reduce poverty," he said.
Comparing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government at the centre with the PPP's provincial government, the young PPP chief said the former had launched stringent action against the NGOs and charities while the latter had always extended cooperation to them.
"I feel pleased to see that the Sindh government under public-private partnership has been working with the NGOs for people’s welfare," he said, adding that the partnership benefited both the public and private sectors while improving the service delivery for public welfare.
"With this spirit the Sindh government increased financial support to the SRSO in 2009 to enable it to work at the union council level," he said.
Sharing figures, Bilawal said the SRSO's project grew from four districts of Sindh in 2009 to 11 districts by June, 2016, and 18 at present. “It now covers some 600,000 households in 395 UCs in 52 talukas of the 11 districts,” he added.
He said the government planned to further enhance funding of the organisation so that 1.1 million families could be covered in the coming years.
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The organisation provides interest-free loans to women to enable them to start their small business in livestock, agriculture, tailor, embroidery and other sectors.
Citing the SRSO's officials, the PPP chairman said 97% of women repaid the loans. He said the programme aimed to empower the women.
"We need to take the SRSO's model to all the villages," he said as he congratulated Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, former CM Qaim Ali Shah and the SRSO's team for the programme's accomplishments.
Referring to his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal said the empowerment was intrinsically a part of the PPP's manifesto.
"A dictator [former army chief Pervez Musharraf] in collusion with the terrorists snatched my mother from me. But I consider all mothers in Pakistan my mothers. Every mother in the country is Benazir," he said.
Party leader MNA Faryal Talpur also addressed the ceremony.
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