Bhutto sisters distribute food supplies among the needy

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KARACHI: Daughters of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari, Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari distributed food rations among the poor in the city’s Kathore area on Tuesday.

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Aseefa took hold of one woman who fell unconscious due to the sweltering heat and lost her footing. She made her drink water to prevent her from dehydrating completely. After the woman had recovered, Aseefa Bhutto handed over ration to her and resumed the relief distribution along with her sister. Afterwards, the youngest child of slain former Pakistani Premier Benazir Bhutto, Aseefa also took pictures with the children who had gathered there and were delighted to have the two sisters amidst them. Bakhtawar and Aseefa both distributed the relief aid among the poor while local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were also present to facilitate the distribution.

Source: Daily Times

Sindh ignored in next PSDP: Out of Rs800bn only Rs12 bn allocated for province

KARACHI (May 31): Presiding over a review meeting of the proposed new Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2016-17) of the federal government, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim ALI EXPRESSED his surprise and sorrow that out of Rs800 billion only Rs12.05 billion allocation has been proposed for Sindh. “This is against the commitments and announcements by the prime minister and an injustice with the people of Sindh.”
The meeting was attended by Senior Minister for Finance & Development Syed Murad Ali Shah, Principal Secretary Alamuddin Bullo, Additional Chief Secretary (Dev) Mohammad Waseem, Secretary Finance Sohail rajput and other.
Senior Minister for Finance and P&D Syed Murad briefing the chief minister said that the federal government has proposed a Rs800 billion PSDP for next financial year. On this the chief minister asked him about the number of on-going schemes of Sindh and their allocation. Syed Murad Shah said that only 25 schemes with an allocation of Rs12.05 billion being executed by Sindh government have been included in the proposed PSDP. The chief minister said that it is a peanut and injustice with Sindh.
He said the prime minister had announced rehabilitation of Guddu Barrage and starting Motorway from Hyderabad to Sukkur but “sorry to say his announcements have been ignored,” he showed his surprise.
Talking about New schemes in the next PSDP, Syed Murad Shah said that the federal government has included 180 new schemes in its next PSDP, out of them only 11 are Sindh-based for which Rs120.77 billion have been earmarked which constitutes 6 percent of the amount.
It may be noted that the in the next proposed PSDP the federal government has included 180 schemes of Rs644543.8315 million against which Rs120.77 billion allocation has been proposed. The province/area wise breakup of the schemes and allocation is quite surprising. Punjab has been given 26 schemes of Rs140100.543 million against which of Rs16599.025 million funds have been allocated which constitute 14 percent of the cost. Sindh has been given only 11 schemes of Rs130475.471 million with an allocation of Rs6550.881 million which comes to 6 percent of the amount. KPK has 18 schemes Rs115927.99 million with an allocation of Rs2721 billion which is 10 percent of the cost. Balochistan has 28 schemes of Rs43439.715 million with an allocation of Rs28356.403 million which is 16 percent of the cost. Gilgit Baltistan has 7 schemes (of Rs15394.5465 m) with an allocation of Rs1100 million which is four percent of the amount, AJK has got two schemes of Rs 3733.453 m against which Rs765 million have been allocated. It comes to one percent of the cost, Islamabad has been given 88 schemes of Rs195472.113 million with an allocation of Rs64678.408 million which comes to 49 percent of the cost.
The chief minister said that six new schemes of Sindh with an adequate allocation be included in the next PSDP. They are Indus Highway-Jamshoro Sehwan Dual Carriageway; Sukkur Barrage rehablitation Project, Un-gradation of flood infrastructure, short term mitigation & preparedness measures to counter sea intrusion; planting of 25 million trees to combat climate change effect in Sindh, Lining of KB Feeder Upper Canal for water Supply to Karachi city.
He said that he would urge the federal government to enhance the allocation of some important schemes. The federal government has allocated only Rs500 million for K-IV which may be increased to Rs5.3 billion so that it could be completed within two years. This is a Rs25.551 billion scheme in which federal and provincial government have to share 50: 50 cost.
Sindh chief minister said that Makhi Farash Link Canal project (Phase-II) is meant to supply water to Thar Coal to meet the requirement of Thar coal project. The total cost of the project is Rs10.61 billion with equal cost sharing by federal and provincial governments. “I would urge the federal government to enhance its proposed allocation of Rs50 million to Rs2 billion”, he said.
Additional Chief Secretary Mohammad Wassem said that the federal government has proposed only Rs10 million for Lining of Distributaries & Minors it should be enhanced to Rs3 billion.
He said that a meager amount of Rs1 billion has been kept as Normal Annual Development Programme (emergent flood scheme), PSDP 992 for the whole country, whereas Sindh has submitted many important schemes costing more than Rs16 billion. The chief minister said that this allocation has been kept for whole of Pakistan and it should be enhanced to Rs10 billion. “I had discussed this requirement with the prime minister but I don’t know why meager amount has been proposed,” he recalled.
ACS (Dev) Mr Waseem told the chief minister that the share of Sindh government in PSDP for vertical programmes going on in the provincial comes to Rs3.93 billion against which only Rs1.76 billion was released. The vertical programmes, include expanded program on immunization, prevention & control of Influenza; prevention & control of Blindness; hepatitis, TB Control programme, Malaria and others.
The chief minister said that the Sindh government has provided Rs1.922 billion as bridge financing for vertical programmes of health department for which I would urge the federal government to reimburse.
Moreover, the federal government has to reimburse Rs842.590 million of Hyderabad package.

PPP wants CoD implementation, says Bilawal

Says his mother was forced to live in exile and his father kept in jail for 11 years without any case; why is PM escaping ehtesab if he has clean hands?

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MIRPUR, Azad Kashmir: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday said his party wanted implementation of all the clauses of the Charter of Democracy (CoD) signed by his mother Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Bilawal said his mother was forced to live in exile while his father was kept in jail for 11 years without any case.Addressing a public gathering here, he said there was no threat to democracy from accountability (Ehtesab) but the threat was to ‘Takht-e-Raiwind’.

He said if Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had not committed corruption and he had clean hands, why was he fleeing from the courts?Bilawal said he believed in transparency and accountability adding that accountability strengthens democracy. He said the prime minister will have to tell the source of the money sent to Panama.

“This jalsa is taking place at a time when our PM is unwell. I appeal to you all to pray for him. We have no personal differences with anyone nor do we resort to personal attacks or criticism. All our efforts are for the betterment of our country and the people. When we find someone working against the aspirations of the people, only then do we criticise. All that I am going to say today should not be taken personally.”

He said the PPP would never back off from its historic stance on the Kashmir dispute. He said the struggle for the liberation of Kashmir was the aim of the PPP. “We want a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue and only a strong Pakistan can support the Kashmir cause at every forum.”

He said talks with opponents could be held on equal terms.  “Kashmir elections are just round the corner; these elections are not ordinary, as they will decide the future of Kashmir.

The whole world is keeping an eye on the Kashmir elections because these elections will prove as an important milestone to shape the future of Kashmiris,” he said. Bilawal said if the PML-N won these elections with its old tactics of drama and rigging, it would be as if Kashmiris had supported the PML-N’s anti-Kashmir and Modi-friendly policies.

“Will Kashmiris let this happen? Never!” He said Kashmir cause was not important to the PML-N.  He said it was President Asif Ali Zardari who had spent the last day of his presidency with the Hurriyat leaders at the Kashmir House.

”The PPP has supported talks at all forums but you can’t forget that you did not mention Kashmir in the UFFA declaration out of your criminal silence. It was an injustice to the Kashmir cause and a conspiracy against the Kashmiris.”

He recalled that ZA Bhutto had made Pakistan an atomic power. “He did not want to see Pakistan becoming Nepal, Bhuttan or Sikkim.”  He called for the resignation of Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz for the disastrous foreign policy.

“The demand for the PM’s resignation is on one side but today I demand the resignation of the foreign minister as well. Today our state has drifted towards isolation. India is our adversary. We don’t have the same terms with Afghanistan like we had before. Iran is also not happy with us. Where is our self-autonomy?”

He said drone attacks were being carried out in the settled areas of Balochistan and CPEC projects were being made controversial.  “We failed to get F-16s from the US.  Our foreign policy is going towards destruction.”

A large number of party workers and supporters welcomed Bilawal upon his arrival here.  The activity comes amid electioneering in Azad Kashmir where polls are just weeks away for the legislative assembly.

Bilawal slams govt’s ‘failed’ foreign policy

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MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday criticised what he called the failed foreign policy of the Nawaz Sharif administration.

It has been over three years since the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been voted to power, but it could not bring in a full-fledged foreign minister. Sartaj Aziz and Tariq Fatemi advise and assist the prime minister on matters of foreign policy.

“The PML-N has failed to deal with India while Iran and Afghanistan are also annoyed with Pakistan. The United States is now carrying out drone strikes in Balochistan while the government has also failed to address controversies about the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Bilawal said while addressing a public gathering in Mirpur, some 190 kilometres away from the AJK capital of Muzaffarabad.

The scion of the Bhutto dynasty went on to add the PML-N government had also failed to get F-16 fighter jets from the United States while its stance on the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state was also weak. “Keeping in view the poor performance of the PML-N government, I call upon the prime minister and his foreign minister to step down,” he added.

The young PPP chairman said a stable Pakistan was vital to promote the Kashmir cause proactively. “The government’s criminal silence on the Kashmir dispute is unfortunate, which shows its lack of interest in the Kashmir cause – the Sharif family is more interested in promoting steel business with India,” he claimed.

“The PPP will continue to support the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. We want a peaceful settlement of this festering dispute through a plebiscite according to the wishes of Kashmiris,” he added.

Bilawal said his party had always been victimised in the name of accountability as his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, was put behind bars on concocted and flimsy charges of corruption.

“When there are calls for accountability in Punjab, then PML-N ministers start issuing threatening statements,” he said. “The PPP believes in transparency and across-the-board accountability without fear or favour,” he added. “Accountability is not a threat to democracy, but it certainly threatens ‘Takht-e-Raiwand.”

The PPP chairman also scoffed at the government’s claim to end the chronic electricity crisis in the country within the next two years. “The PML-N has failed to generate even a single megawatt of electricity in the three years of its rule as people are still subjected to 12 to 18 hours of load-shedding daily.”

The whole world is monitoring the AJK elections, he said and called upon the Kashmiri voters to vote for PPP candidates because a PML-N electoral victory would mean a ‘victory of friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2016.