President Asif Ali Zardari met with an Awami National Party (ANP) delegation at the Bilawal House on Wednesday to discuss target killings and registration of Pakhtun settlements.
The delegation, headed by ANP secretary-general Amin Khattak, demanded that the findings of the inquiries of last month’s target killings should be revealed and made public. “Interior minister Rehman Malik had asked for a week to reveal the inquiry results, but we realised that it was not enough and we extended the time to two weeks. Nothing has been made public yet and so we had to inform the president about our apprehensions,” Khattak told The Express Tribune.
He said that the other issues discussed with President Zardari were the restoration of Karachi’s previous administrative status of being divided into five districts. This suggestion was made keeping in mind the increasing population of the city which now stands at 20 million, said Khattak.
The ANP also demanded the regularisation of Pakhtun squatter settlements and appealed to the president for the registration of children born in Karachi but whose parents hailed from Malakand and other areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “The president has assured us that these matters would be resolved soon and it was not fair if National Identity Cards and birth registration were denied to these people,” claimed Khattak.
Moreover, the delegation also requested the president to release development funds and initiate mega projects for the constituencies of the two elected ANP members in the Sindh assembly, as they have not received any package from the government as yet.
President Zardari directed the katchi abadis minister to look into the matter and take measures to lease the land occupied by Pakhtuns.
A Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) delegation headed by MPA Jam Madad Ali met the president and held a half-an-hour-long meeting to discuss various issues.
PML-F reminded the president of their last meeting in which it was decided that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would take the party on board when discussing budget preparations, politically motivated cases and transfers and postings of officials.
“The president was not happy with the performance of his party men who continuously delayed matters unnecessarily. He directed the Sindh law minister, Ayaz Soomro, to take immediate steps and legally withdraw cases registered against PML-F workers during the last general elections,” said Ali.
The delegation apprised the president about the disconnection of tubewells in the lands of PML-F representatives, complaining that the police do not help them.
They also discussed the upcoming local bodies’ election. PML-F demanded that the police should be directed not to interfere in the electoral process and a level-playing field should be provided to all parties.
The president’s body language showed that he was agitated during the meeting as he did not appreciate the feedback he received from his party members, a member of the delegation told The Express Tribune.
Other members of the delegation included Adviser to the Chief Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh, MPA Marvi Rashdi and Shehryar Maher.
Delegation of journalists
The governing body of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) also met with the president separately to discuss problems being faced by journalists.
KPC president Imtiaz Khan Faran informed the president about the issues pertaining to the welfare and safety of journalists and requested the president to make arrangements for soft loans to establish a journalist colony in scheme No 42 near Hawkes Bay. The president directed the Sindh finance secretary to allocate the amount for the establishment of houses and quarters, but the secretary told him that they did not have sufficient funds. However, the president assured them that a scheme of easy loans will be launched soon.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 17th, 2010.
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