Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has urged the nation to support the Sindh government’s decision to rule out military intervention in Karachi which has been plagued by political and ethnic violence.
“Karachi is now our biggest challenge. I take this opportunity, in the presence of all four chief ministers, to urge the nation to support the Sindh government’s operation. It is a provincial initiative which is fully backed by the federal government. The resolution of the Karachi conflict lies in upholding the rule of law,” said the prime minister on Saturday while addressing the seventh meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI).
Gilani said that while we are all engaged in efforts to strengthen democracy, anti-democratic forces and anti-state elements are carrying out activities detrimental to the country’s economic growth and stability. “We need to raise our guard against these disruptive forces to be able to move forward unimpeded,” he added.
“I am a great believer in politics of consensus and reconciliation. These attributes constitute the essence of democracy. The path is however full of pitfalls and obstacles,” the premier said. “Sacrifice, understanding, patience and commonality of purpose are required to evolve a consensus.” The Sindh chief minister thanked the prime minister for his support for the measures taken by the provincial government to restore peace in Karachi.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif apprised the prime minister of his government’s efforts to recover former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s son, Shahbaz Taseer who was abducted from a busy artery in Lahore on Friday.
The CCI agreed to work on a formula for distribution of zakat by the provinces and to expedite compensation to the people affected by last summer’s devastating floods. The CII members reached an agreement to devolve the distribution of zakat to the provinces in pursuance of the 18th amendment. The Express Tribune has learnt that the federation and the provinces agreed to equally share the financial burden of payment of the second tranche among the survivors of last year’s flood. The chief ministers were urged to provide details of each household within two weeks, so that the federal government can release the necessary funds. The CCI has asked the ministry of water and power to coordinate with the provinces regarding permission for power generation and submit its proposals within a week.
Public debt management, imposition of a new levy, the sixth housing census and privatisation of power sector entities also figured on the meeting’s agenda.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.