Remembering the fall of East Pakistan on Sunday, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf urged opposition parties to end the politics of confrontation and hatred for a better Pakistan.
“December 16 is a constant reminder that there is no room for any blunders in politics,” he told a public rally in Kasur. He decried those “playing politics” on religious, sectarian and provincial grounds, maintaining they were harming the country.
Raja claimed democracy in Pakistan owed much to the sacrifices rendered by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and stressed the need to protect democratic institutions. He maintained all political parties enjoyed political power due to the PPP and its politics of reconciliation.
The premier added that his party must be credited with restoring the 1973 Constitution, empowering parliament and ensuring transparency in the upcoming elections through an independent election commission.
Premier Raja also announced that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto will start his political career with his address at Garhi Khuda Baksh on December 27.
Referring to statements regarding corruption by the National Accountability Bureau chairman, he claimed that the initially “amused” opposition immediately rejected the figures when the bureau revealed that Punjab was responsible for 65% of corruption in the country.
The premier also rejected the opposition’s claims that the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would be closed.
“The BISP has provided financial assistance to around 7 million destitute women … its transparency has been confirmed by the World Bank … such a decision is tantamount to snatching an honourable source of living from people,” he said.
Raja announced various development projects for Kasur district, including the establishment of an International Bulleh Shah University, along with gas and road projects. He also gave his tacit approval to opening the Ganda Singh border with India, adding that the issue will be taken up with the Indian government.
PPP parliamentary party meeting
While presiding over PPP’s parliamentary party meeting in Lahore, Premier Raja announced a Rs30 million package and three dozen jobs for the constituencies of the party’s MPAs, in a bid to remove their grievances.
According to sources, PPP lawmakers complained that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had granted each of its MPAs Rs200 million for development projects in their constituencies while they had received only Rs70 million from the federal government.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2012.
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