PPP won’t take confrontational path: Zardari


KARACHI – President Asif Ali Zardari told a meeting of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders at Bilawal House on Sunday that it was sad that politics of “horse-trading” had been adopted by friends in Punjab but the PPP would defend democracy and would not take the path of confrontation.
The PPP was a democratic party, he said, and would not like to use undemocratic means in a difficult time because it did not want to harm the democratic system. The president vowed that the party would continue the reconciliatory politics of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and wanted better relationship with all political entities in the country.
Zardari said that the government would complete its tenure and that it was going to announce an economic package in the upcoming budget for poverty alleviation, job-creation, agriculture development, and a solution to the energy crisis.
Earlier, Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Raza Rabbani briefed the president on the situation in Punjab. Sources told Pakistan Today that the president had also called Punjab Governor Latif Khosa Interior Minsiter Rehman Malik on Monday to discuss the political situation in Punjab. Sources said that during his stay in Karachi the president would also preside over a special meeting of the Sindh Cabinet to discuss the development process in the province among other issues.
A meeting of the PPP-Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Core Committee is also likely on Tuesday in which the president would personally assess the implementation of the PPP’s commitments to MQM. Zardari also chaired a meeting about the Lyari projects. He said Lyari was a stronghold of the PPP and he would personally visit the area soon and address a public meeting. He told the Sindh government to release Rs 100 million to improve the Lyari General Hospital and to fulfill the requirements of the newly established Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical University.
He ordered the authorities concerned to open admissions to the university, and was told that classes would start in next 15 to 20 days. The president formed a six-member committee headed by Senior Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq to resolve any issues of the medical university. Other members were Sindh Health Minister Dr Saghir Ahmed, Sindh Katchi Abadis Minister Rafiq Engineer and Sindh Chief Secretary Ghulam Ali Pasha along with the finance and health secretaries.
Separately, the President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar told reporters that the meeting of the PPP’s Sindh Core Committee reviewed the political situation in the country in general and the situation in Sindh in particular, coalition matters and major developmental projects in the province. The president gave a brief overview of the latest political developments in the country and sought the views and suggestions of participants on emerging challenges.
Members of the committee expressed full confidence in the leadership of President Zardari. The president told the committee that Japan had announced a Rs 14 billion interest-free loan to Pakistan to rebuild roads and bridges washed destroyed in the recent floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwah. He said that he had also raised the matter of similar assistance for Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan.
Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, CM’s Advisor Dr Qaiser Bangali and senior officials also attended the meeting. More meetings on law and order and development projects are planned for Monday in Bilawal House Karachi.