Zardari confers with PPP leaders on Punjab strategy
12 February, 2013
LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari, on his fourth day in the city on Monday, continued meetings with provincial and local leaders of his party, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and discussed different options to win the next general election in Punjab.
The president visited Punjab Governor's House along with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and held a special meeting with key party and parliamentary leaders, including PPP Punjab President Mian Manzoor Wattoo, PPP Lahore President Samina Khalid Ghurki, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, Azizur Rehman Chan and Iqbal Sialvi. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz Ahmad Khan, Punjab Governor Makhdum Ahmad Mahmud and his three sons Syed Mustafa Mehmood, Syed Murtaza Mehmood and Syed Ali Mehmood were also present in the meeting.
According to the party sources, President Zardari once again expressed his wish to establish his party's government in Punjab after winning the next general elections in the province in an alliance with the Chaudhrys of the PML-Q. The meeting also discussed different options and strategies to gain power in Punjab, the sources said, adding that the president also directed the party leaders to start preparations for the next elections.
Earlier, President Zardari administered oath to newly appointed federal minister Abbas Khan Afridi at the Governor's House. The president also visited the Services Hospital to inquire about the health of PPP deputy parliamentary leader in the Punjab Assembly and information secretary for southern Punjab chapter Shaukat Basra who was injured in a police baton-charge against young doctors' protest on Sunday.
Bilawal, Governor Mahmood, PPP Punjab President Manzoor Wattoo and other party leader were also present on the occasion. The president presented a bouquet to the injured party leader and appreciated his efforts for the rights of the people. He took the staircase to reach the third floor of the medical facility where Basra was admitted. The president told Basra that he should not be worried about this situation, as he was not alone, and the party would not leave those alone who had given sacrifices.
Meanwhile, Governor Mahmood held a meeting with President Zardari and discussed the situation in the province. In the meeting that was held at the Bilawal House, various developmental projects of the province and issues relating to the respective constituencies of the parliamentarians were discussed. Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi also called on President Zardari at the Governor's House on Monday. He briefed the president about various steps taken by the Board for the welfare of the minorities in the country and to facilitate pilgrims.
The president, while appreciating the ETPB's efforts for facilitating and safeguarding the rights of the minorities, reiterated that the government was committed to the welfare of the non-Muslims living in the country. Recounting various significant measures undertaken by the present government for welfare of minorities, including allocation of reserved seats in Senate, five percent job quota in all federal government jobs, commemorating August 11 every year as Minorities Day, establishment of a hotline for the timely redressal of grievances of the non-Muslim citizens, the president said that the government would continue to protect and safeguard the rights of the minorities as enshrined in the constitution.