“The greater challenge for the government is not the military operation in North Waziristan, but the rehabilitation of the people displaced by it,” former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Friday.
He was talking to The Express Tribune after a ceremony on the occasion of the death anniversary of Makhdoom Sajjad Qureshi, the former governor of the Punjab.
Gilani said the government was using the operation for political gains. He said displacement of thousands of families was essential for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
He said everyone should come forward to contribute for the rehabilitation of IDPs.
“The IDPs have left everything behind,” he said. “They should not be made to feel like strangers in their own country.”
The former prime minister said political parties should spread the message of peace and brotherhood.
He said executive committee of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would decide how to respond to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s invitation to join the long march and demonstration in Islamabad.
“Mocking the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is fine for political point scoring,” he said, “but the responsibility for rehabilitation of the IDPs belongs with the federal government.”
He said the government had failed to deliver on its election promises. The former prime minister said ending the energy crisis in the country was a promise the PML-N had made to the masses during elections. “A year after they [the government] were elected, people have taken to the streets, demanding an end to the worst energy crisis in the country’s history,” he said.
He said ending electricity and gas load shedding required proper planning. He said the previous government had a plan to end load shedding but it had been abandoned. He said if development plans were abandoned every few years, nothing could be achieved. He said the government should recognise its responsibility or resign.
He condemned the ongoing shelling in Gaza by Israeli forces. He said people across the world were united in their condemnation of aggression.
He said unity between Muslim leaders on the Palestinian issue would send a strong message to Israel.
“Israel has learnt barbarism from its supporters,” he said. “Now is not the time to be silent over what is happening Gaza.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.
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