KARACHI: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has asked the chief ministers of Sindh and Punjab to hold a meeting on Tuesday to resolve the Chashma-Jhelum link canal issue.
The premier is in Karachi on a two-day visit to resolve issues pertaining to Indus River System Authority (Irsa) chairman’s unilateral decision to open the Chashma-Jhelum link canal despite protests by the federal and Sindh members. To that end, he is meeting party leaders and other political party representatives.
The opening of the canal generated a strong reaction from the Sindh chapter of the PPP and the MQM, which have been pleading Sindh’s water scarcity. “PPP members condemned the Irsa chairman’s remarks about their federal member and have demanded that the chairman be sacked,” confided an insider who was privy to the meeting.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah told the prime minister about Sindh’s reservations and about the shortage of water in the province. “Shah also told Gilani about the differences evolving between the Punjab and other provinces and the prime minister promised him that no decision would be taken without taking all the provinces into account and that matters would be resolved amicably,” said the insider.
Shah and Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan also briefed the premier on the law and order situation in Sindh, particularly in Karachi. Gilani is said to have promised the two the federal government’s support and cooperation in maintaining law and order.
Afterwards, the PM attended the convention of PPP’s Larkana division. In attendance were district presidents and general secretaries of Larkana, Qamber-Shadadkot, Jacobabad as well as members of the national and provincial assemblies.
Insiders say the members from Larkana complained of delays in the release of development funds and also complained about the water shortage in upper Sindh. The members also made a case for greater fund allocations.
Promising party workers that their issues would be resolved at the earliest, the prime minister said he’d soon release Larkana’s funds and also announced the setting up of a sports complex for the women of the city. Gilani also announced a 100 million-rupee grant for the Larkana lawyers’ society and promised to allocate a certain amount from his discretionary funds for the provision of employment opportunities to PPP workers.
Gilani assured the workers that the party was in a strong position and capable of dealing with any conspiracy hatched against it. “The prime minister said the PPP has successfully tackled issues such as the constitutional amendment, the restoration of the judiciary and the reinstatement of 26,000 federal employees and will also meet other challenges head on,” said MPA Ghulam Mujadid Isran.
Gilani promised to make Garhi Khuda Buksh a model city with modern infrastructure and also directed the National Highway Authority to widen the road from Sukkur to Jacobabad. He also told the NHA to complete the Larkana-Dadu road at the earliest. The prime minister also promised to hold worker conventions in Sukkur and Mirpurkhas, as in Karachi and Hyderabad, with a view to increasing interaction with party workers.
In a cabinet meeting today (Monday), the prime minister will be briefed by the Sindh chief minister about the Thar Coal Project.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2010.
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