Nothing less than Saraiki province acceptable: PM Gilani
05 March, 2012
MUZAFFARGARH: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday rejected PML-N President Nawaz Sharif's proposal of creating new administrative units, saying that the people of Saraiki belt wanted nothing less than a separate province for themselves.
Addressing a gathering of people from flood-hit communities, Gilani said Nawaz Sharif had recently proposed new administrative units in the country "but we reject this offer". He said Saraiki people were "sober, kind-hearted and speak a sweet language" but it did not mean "they do not know what they want".
"They do not compromise on principles. They hold their ground like I do whenever any problem arises," the prime minister said.
He said a separate province was the demand of the people of southern Punjab which, he said, was a backward area lacking progress and harbouring a sense of deprivation.
Gilani praised the flood-hit people for showing resilience and courage while dealing with difficulties and losses they had faced during the natural calamity. The government realised the sufferings of people as the floods had destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and people's livelihoods, the prime minister added.
He said that an upgraded Multan airport had made it possible that relief could easily be sent to seven flood-hit districts. "Because of the airport, it was also convenient for leaders of other countries to visit the flood-devastated areas," he said.
The prime minister said the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was a movement and mission having "ideological workers". "I am prime minister of a party whose workers are committed and whose leaders such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto rendered sacrifices not for the office of prime minister but for the rights of people," Gilani said.
The prime minister said the PPP had struggled for the restoration of democracy in the country. "I am prime minister because of the foundation built on the sacrifices of martyrs," he added.
He said that although people had given the PPP a mandate for five years, some elements, including the media, wanted the government to quit early. "The PPP has millions of supporters and it is not in the government on the invitation of somebody... we will fulfill the mission of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto", Gilani said, adding, "We will not act as cowards as we are trustees of courageous leaders."
The prime minister said women made 51 percent of the population and under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) they were not only getting financial assistance but also identity cards to have more role in national affairs. "Under BISP, women will also get health insurance, business opportunities and one youngster of a family will get technical education," he said, adding that 100,000 jobs would be created in the upcoming budget for youth. The prime minister said former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had left the PPP because he wanted the Foreign Ministry but the party leadership offered him the Ministry for Water and Power.