LAHORE: The PPP government is dedicated to the politics of reconciliation and will continue to work to stay close to all major parties, said Governor Salmaan Taseer on Monday.
“People assumed that the government would be forced out. But we are preparing for the 2013 elections,” Taseer told reporters.
He said that the PPP was having a formal meeting with the PML-Q because it wanted to improve its relationship with the Q-League. About his ‘Qatil-League’ statement made a while ago, he said it was in the past and such things happened all the time in politics.
As guest of honour for an event held by the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, Taseer promised tanners that he would bring up the leather industry’s grievances in a meeting scheduled with the prime minister on October 27.
Earlier, Khurshid Alam, chairman of the PTA, pleaded for government help for the industry, which he said was “on the verge of collapse”. Two years ago, he said, leather exports were worth $2.2 billion; this year they were 30 per cent less, and next year were likely to fall by another 10 per cent.
Two major reasons for these losses, Alam said, were load shedding and smuggling. He said the smuggling of cattle to Afghanistan and Iran was done through special permits issued by the customs department, which charged Rs2,000 for large livestock and Rs500 for small livestock. This had led to a shortage of raw materials for the leather industry, he said. Also, some 1.5 million hides were lost in the recent floods.
The governor suggested that the tanners propose a five-year plan for their sector to the Ministry of Industries.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2010.