PPP Says Economic Crisis Remains Despite End of IMF Program
Islamabad, 31 January 2005:
Coordinator of the Economic Committee of the PPP and former federal Minister
and MNA Naveed Qamar has issued he following statement today.
"The financial assistance following the events of September 11 had enabled
Pakistan to temporarily say "goodbye" to the IMF. However, the Party
cautioned that the long term future of Pakistan had been "mortgaged" through
rescheduling of debts.
"Rescheduling on its own can be beneficial if the interest payments deferred
are used to reduce the capital debt and invest in human resources. However,
in the present reckless and irresponsible financial climate, the interest
monies saved through deferred interest payments are being squandered on
white elephant projects such as building a new General Headquarters and new
"The regime may claim to have said good bye to IMF but the fact is that we
are still being monitored by the IMF in critical areas. Moreover, the regime
still begs and borrows from other international lenders as well as from the
open market which is far more expensive and detrimental to national economy
as is evident from the floating of bonds".
"By spending more than we earn on the basis of the September 11 financial
windfall, Islamabad was endangering the future of the unborn children of the
The PPP leader said that the monies should be invested in reduction of
capital debt as well as on improving education and health. The PPP is
committed to producing an educated manpower equipped to deal with the modern
technological world so that the country could create jobs, increase
productivity and growth and allow its citizens to lead prosperous lives, he
Syed Naveed Qamar said that without a representative and democratic
government, the basic needs of the people were being ignored. Joblessness,
inflation, hunger, economic suicides were creating misery and suffering and
the future of the country was being mortgaged.
"An independent and sovereign Pakistan could be built only when debt was
cleared which the present regime was ignoring".
The PPP noted that without the financial assistance of September 11 events
and saddled with a Moeen Quereshi IMF agreement for fiscal control, it had
achieved a great victory for the Nation by becoming the first government to
pay off capital debt.
It may be recalled that PPP paid off one billion dollars of expensive debt
during its tenure. However after its overthrow the fascist regime of Farooq
Leghari once again borrowed one billion dollars at the most expensive rates
to compromise Pakistan's independence and self reliance.
The need of the hour was to make Pakistan a democratic country, giving
respect to its people by investing in its youth and preparing to meet the
challenges of the new world with dignity and enlightened moderation, he
Barrister Sultan Mehamood addressed the PPP Canada luncheon meeting
Islamabad, 31 January 2005:
Former prime minister of AJK and PPP leader Barrister Sultan Mehmood spoke
on the luncheon meeting organize by PPP Canada at the Suhaag banquet hall
today where he praised the courageous leadership of Shaheed Bhutto who gave
his life but gave Pakistan nuclear capability and his brave daughter
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto developed missile technology to make Pakistan strong
enough of her neighbor. Present military regime in Pakistan is weakening our
stance on the issue of Kashmir which will not serve any good to the cause of
Kashmir, said Barrister.
He also demanded of the international community to settle the issue of
Kashmir according to the UN resolutions adopted by the world. Kashmir is for
Kashmiries and the Kashmiries are the ones to have the right to decide their
future course. Leadership of both sides of Kashmir are to be included in
negotiation process and we believe that since US is taking interest to solve
the Kashmir issue, I also think US should take the role of mediator. Said
former prime minister of AJK.
Barrister Sultan stressed that Canada may also could play important role and
the Kashmiri and Pakistani Canadians should highlight the cause of Kashmir
with their MP's. He thanked PPP Canada president Saleem Janjua to organize
such impressive event in short time notice. President PPP Canada Saleem
Janjua and Aftab Malik PRO PPP Canada also spoke on the occasion and thanked
Sardar Zahoor Khan member executive PPP Canada for hosting the luncheon
No Offer for Mohtarma's Return By Regime—Says PPP
Islamabad, 30 January 2005:
Pakistan Peoples Party spokesperson has said that Mr Musharraf's aide Mr.
Tariq Aziz has not met former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Dubai and nor
is he scheduled to meet her.
In a statement today, the PPP spokesperson said that a
news item to this effect had been planted in the press claiming that the
regime has offered Mohtarma safe return to Pakistan, withdrawal of cases as
well as share in an interim regime which she has rejected. No such offer has
been made, he said.
These press report are baseless. It has been repeated time and again since
September 2004 for reasons best known to those who are planting it.
The PPP believes that this story is being planted by those who want to
divide the Opposition or want to convey to Mr. Musharraf that PPP has
refused his mediation effort if indeed he has made such an effort or want to
convey to the national and international intelligentsia that PPP is being
unreasonable in refusing the return of Mohtarma, withdrawal of cases as well
as participation in an interim government.
Irrespective of the reasons behind those who have planted such stories since
last September, PPP would like to make it clear that no such offer has been
made to the PPP or its Chairperson
Mohtarma Bhutto condemns murder of Party worker in police custody
Also condemns attack on Party MNA Qurban Ali Shah
Islamabad January 29, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has condemned that murderous attack on the house of PPP MNA
Qurban Ali Shah and the death of a Party worker Abu Bakr Panwer in police
custody and asked the regime to bring to book those responsible for the
On Wednesday January 26 the house of PPPP MNA Mr. Qurban Shah in Mirpur Khas
in Sindh was savagely attacked by the members of the present regime. When
the PPP workers protested the police baton charged and arrested them
resulting also in the death in custody of Abu Bakr Panwer, a loyal Party
In a statement today the former Prime Minister called for an investigation
into the murder of Abu Bakr Panwer and arrest of the culprits.
Mohtarma said that the murder of Abu Bakr Panwer and the attack on the house
of Parliamentarian Qurban Ali Shah went against the declared policy of Mr.
Musharaf to seek national reconciliation. The former Prime Minister said
that if the regime was sincere about national reconciliation it must take
action against elements in the government who were involved in unlawful acts
such as murder and arson of innocent persons and their offices on political
This was the second murder following that of PPP official and Union Council
Nazim Jamote of Malir earlier this month. Earlier MPA Dr. Asad Moazam was
arrested from the Party office and Former MNA Bajwa faced threats from
Speaker of the Punjab Assembly.
Following the announcement of a reconciliation policy, observers say that
PPP officials have been targeted more brutally. It seems that the velvet
glove is to hide the iron fist where four PPP Mayors were removed, four PPP
strongholds gerry mandered through redistribution, the seat of former Prime
Minister bifurcated into two separate districts as well as other actions
denying political space to PPP.
"The deteriorating law and order situation and state terrorism as was
witnessed in the attack on the house on a PPP MNA and the killing of a PPP
worker in police custody on Mirpur Khas is most reprehensible and is
condemned in the strongest terms".
It appeared that the regime was deliberately targeting the PPP workers and
crating a law and order situation just before the forthcoming local bodies
elections, she said.
The former Prime Minister demanded a judicial probe into the incident and
the registration of FIR of the murder of the PPP worker in police custody.
Failure to do so would fan suspicion that some people in the regime planned
to trigger ethnic riots in the province to suit their own political agenda,
She said that the regime was pursuing a deliberate course to shrink the
political space for the opposition. It was bent upon achieving its objective
through all means including resort to state terrorism, she said.
She also urged the human rights bodies to take note of the state brutality
and raise their voice against it.
The PPP would not be deterred by such strong-arm tactics and would not
succumb to show of force, she said.
Mohtarma Bhutto also expressed sympathy with the families of victims of
Reports of regime offer to PPP not correct
Islamabad January 28, 2005:
A spokesman of the PPP has contradicted reports in a section of the press
that the regime has offered to allow Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to return to
the country, holding of fresh elections, share in the interim government and
withdrawal of cases against her.
It is clarified that reports to this effect are not correct and no such
offer has been made.
Further reports in a section of the press that that the PPP is ready to
accept MMA as a protest partner are also not correct.
It is true that there are pressures for forming a grand alliance. However,
after the MMA gave political support to General Pervez Musharraf for the
17th amendment the PPP is hesitant to enter into another alliance for the
Mohtarma Bhutto concerned about water issues
Calls for lining canals and building small dams
Islamabad January 28, 2005:
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson and former Prime Minister Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has expressed reservations about bypassing the constitutional
provisions for the settlement of water issues between the provinces.
According to press reports the federal government has decided to set up
Water Council under the chairman ship of Prime Minister and comprising of
chief ministers of all four provinces and experts from provinces and Water
and Power ministry to resolve water related disputes between the provinces.
In a statement today Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that Article 153 of the
Constitution already provided for a mechanism in the shape of council of
Common Interest (CCI) for addressing such issues. The Water Council would be
helpless as it is not a constitutional body and its decision would not have
the force of a constitutional body like the CCI, she said.
The former Prime Minister said that water issue was closely linked to the
issue of electricity also which as a subject on the Concurrent Legislative
List fell within the purview of the CCI for formulating and regulating
policies. Whereas the CCI is responsible to the Parliament the new proposed
Water Council is responsible to the Prime Minister or federal government,
she said and added that this fact alone would make the new body suspect in
the eyes of many.
She said that Article 155 of the Constitution also provided that if the
interest of a province in water from any natural sources of supply was
affected prejudicially by any executive or legislative action the matter
would be taken up in the Council of Common Interest which shall either give
its decision or request the President to appoint a commission of experts on
whose report the Council shall record its decision.
She said that the best course therefore would be to seek a resolution
through the mechanism provided in the Constitution. She said that bypassing
the Constitutional mechanisms in place was jeopardizing national interest
and eroding the sanctity of the law and constitution. She said that
adherence to Constitution would provide the framework to resolve the bread
and butter issues relating to the common man who was suffering untold
miseries due to the interruption of the constitutional process.
The former Prime Minister that tinkering with the constitution on water
related issues in the backdrop of water shortage in the country would harm
the federation by allowing mistrust to fester.
She noted that the Peoples Government had drawn up an ambitious plan to
increase water resources of the country. These plans included lining of all
canals between 1996 and 2006. The lining of the canals would have produced
two and a half times the water projected for Kalabagh Dam every year
bringing millions of acres under cultivation.
The former Prime Minister wanted the regime to explain what it had done
about the small water dams that were being constructed by PPP government
from Khyber to Karachi with a view to providing clean drinking water as well
as agricultural water for the people.
She said that water was being politically exploited under dictatorships for
cheap purposes of divide and rule. She called upon the regime to revive the
PPP polices and immediately start lining the canals and building of small
PLAN TO CUT LOCAL BODIES’ BASE CONDEMNED
Islamabad January 26, 2005:
Ms Sherry Rehman PPPP Member of the National Assembly and President, Central
Policy Planning, Pakistan Peoples Party has issued the following statement
"The regime’s recent reported decision to reduce the number of Union Council
seats for the next round of Local Body polls reflects its clear intention to
use both the electoral process and structure as a political tool.
"Without a doubt, the new anti-devolutionary plan to reduce the total number
of Union Council seats from 21 to 13 comes as a severe blow to women, labour,
peasant and minorities candidates particularly, as this will translate into
a huge cut in their representation at the local level. If these anti-people
reforms go through, local institutions will revert back to a process of
control by traditional tribal and clerical forces.
"The reasons for this quite cutting back of local representation is obvious.
After a few years of chaotic district government, where only a handful of
the councilors understood their role or their responsibilities, many who
have come in for the first time, particularly on reserved seats, are posing
a threat to the local establishment through a shift in their articulated
interests. The first signs of democratic organization by these marginalized
groups at a local level has challenged entrenched interests and elites who
are finding it increasingly difficult to manipulate a class that is
beginning to slowly articulate its needs and demand its entitlements. Groups
of women and labour networks have been indicating their intention to contest
the next local bodies polls on an organized party-affiliation standard,
which gives them political protection, even if the regime insists on
non-party polls, and candidate applications have been pouring into the PPP’s
district offices all over the country for these slots.
"The total number of Union Councilors will go down from 114,418 to 66,220.
Peasant and labour seats will be reduced from 24, 088 to 12,044, while
minorities, who have one reserved seat in every Union Council may be
deprived of representation altogether in most councils. Women councilors who
have been undergoing training from political parties as well as NGOs and are
now asking for an end to tribal justice, remuneration for their offices,
pose a challenge to the male-domination of the district assemblies.
Political activists, NGOs and unions have calculated that only on the
women’s seats, the cut will bring down their representation from 36,132 to
"Local elites who have been lobbying against the erosion of their powers by
these councilors have been given more concessions by the regime through its
promise to curtail the numbers that form the Electoral College for the seat
of District Nazim. For a district of one hundred union councils, for
instance, the Electoral College will be reduced from 2,100 to 140, which
really amounts to a massive cut in the democratic base of the nazims, whose
election it will now be easier to manipulate.
"The anti-democratic bias of the whole decentralization process has been
clear from the start, but becomes even more pronounced after the violation
of all earlier promises to conduct these elections on a party basis. Local
elections on a non-party basis for a second time will not just render party
programmes and policies ineffective by creating a pool of local leaders
responsible directly to the military government, but will promote a
retrograde political culture of kin-based, feudal and anti-democratic
forces. An elite consensus that bypasses the provinces and weakens the
federation is dangerous in a multi-ethnic, heterogeneous country like
Pakistan. Given the insurgency in Balochistan, and the discontent in both
Sindh and the Frontier province over resources, it is clear that another
military government is taking the country into a calamitous situation
because of its inability to reconcile competing interests through the
pluralism inherent in a genuine democracy. It is also disturbingly clear
that the military government has not learnt any lessons form the 1971
division of the country where the interests of one province were
consistently ignored by a military regime determined to govern Pakistan as a
"General Musharraf has already embarked on a suicidal course for democracy
in this country by forging a parliamentary system into a quasi-military
presidency. By reducing the emerging power of groups that form the support
base of popular, mainstream political parties with roots in the rural and
urban impoverished masses, this regime is hitting out at more than one-third
of the country that lives below the poverty line. Pakistan is not a country
that has ever welcomed military dictatorships, and political forces like the
PPP will continue to challenge this attempt to concentrate all powers at the
top. The PPP has always fought hard for the rights of marginalized groups,
and will continue in its struggle to represent the interests of those groups
that find their voices muzzled by a military regime. We condemn this latest
move of the regime as anti-people, non-participatory and disempowering".
PPP not to participate in Muttahida round table
Islamabad January 27, 2005:
Spokesman of the Pakistan Peoples Party has issued the following statement
"The MQM has invited the PPP to a round table on Baluchistan which the
Muttaheda plans to hold in Quetta on Friday January 28.
"The PPP wishes to reiterate its commitment to the people of Baluchistan and
to find a peaceful political resolution to the simmering problem and unrest
in the province accentuated by the gang rape of a lady doctor allegedly by
personnel of the security forces.
"That is why the Party has already submitted appropriate Parliamentary
instruments including adjournment motion and a call attention notice to
discuss the Baluchistan situation in the forthcoming Senate session
scheduled from February 2.
"The PPP however feels that the MQM being part and parcel of the government
should use its influence and power within the government to redress the
genuine grievances of the province of Baluchistan which responsibility it
seems to have abdicated.
"The PPP finds it difficult to participate in a Muttahida sponsored round
table on Baluchistan. On Wednesday January 26 as the MQM was inviting the
PPP for participating in the round table, its workers were attacking the
house of PPPP MNA Mr. Qurban Shah in Mirpur Khas in Sindh. When the PPP
workers protested the police baton charged and arrested them resulting also
in the death in custody of one Party worker.
"The Party therefore has decided not to participate in the MQM sponsored
round table and to pursue its own course along with the opposition parties
to address the Baluchistan issue".
Raza Rabbani condemns harassment of PPP MPA
Denounces move to bifurcate Hyderabad in two districts
Islamabad January 25, 2005:
Mian Raza Rabbani leader of the Opposition in the Senate has issued the
following statement today.
"The arrest, harassment and maltreatment of Dr. Asad Moazzam, MPA Punjab
Assembly belonging to the PPPP is condemned in the strongest terms.
"The PML (Q) government is following an agenda of political victimization in
which the voice of political opposition is being crushed by the use of state
apparatus. The cloak and dagger style adopted in raiding the house of Dr.
Asad Moazam is typical of a police state. The police officials who acted as
Party workers of the ruling Party must be suspended immediately and a
judicial inquiry by a Judge of the High Court be ordered.
"The Government in the province of Sindh has on the basis of political
motivation created new districts and dismissed without lawful authority four
PPPP nazims. This has been done to further curtail the political space for
the opposition and is condemned.
The government is also considering bifurcating Hyderabad to carve out
another district for achieving its narrow political ends. This act of the
government is condemned and the Party will take appropriate action under the
"The Government continues to target the Opposition, curtail its political
space and deny it legitimate political role.
"Be it known to the rulers that no matter what it does the Opposition will
not be deterred. The Opposition will continue to conduct accountability of
the rulers inside and outside the Parliament.
"Our struggle for the restoration of the Constitution, supremacy of the
Parliament and against the 17th Amendment will continue till final victory.
"Let there be no doubt or mistake about it. The forces of truth, justice and
parliamentary supremacy are fated to succeed".
Hearing in Case against PPP workers today
Islamabad January 26, 2005:
The case against PPP activists accused of attacking the Parliament House in
April 1998 will be heard in the court of senior civil judge Islamabad on
Thursday January 27.
The case was adjourned till today at the time of last hearing on December 21
coinciding with the arrival of Asif Zardari in Islamabad and his deportation
Raja Abbasi Defence Council then deposed that dozens of activists named in
the FIR could not appear before the court because of the swoop on Party
workers a night before who were preparing to accord welcome to Asif Ali
Zardari. He also an application on behalf of the workers who could not
attend December 21 proceedings because of the late night arrests.
About fifty activists of the Party including Ms Naheed Khan MNA, Nayyer
Bokhari MNA, Shahzadi Kausar Gillani MLA Azad Kashmir, Senator Farhatullah
Babar, Qazi Sultan Mahmood, Syed Ibrar Rizvi, Babar Minhas, Syed Ibn-i-Rivi,
Shahnawaz, Shabbir Babar, Jehangir Akhtar, Majeed Niazi and Sohail Rumi
besides others have been charged with storming the Parliament building in
1998 and threatening the Speaker National Assembly.
The case was registered on April 22, 1998 when PPP activists staged a
protest rally outside the Parliament House against the anti-terrorism
legislation, which gave sweeping powers to the executive. The demonstrators
were forcibly dispersed when the police resorted to baton charge resulting
in injury to many Party workers and activists.
The protestors were demanding review of the law. Later the Supreme Court
struck down various provisions of the proposed legislation including the one
relating to the setting up of military courts to try terror cases.
A large number of protestors were arrested on the spot and sent to jail. All
were initially booked under the anti-terror law against which they were
protesting. Later however the government withdrew the terrorism charges and
booked the protestors under eight different sections of the Criminal
Defence Counsel Raja Shakeel Abbasi has asked all the Party workers named in
the FIR in the case to appear before the court of senior civil judge
Islamabad on time.
PPP welcomes Daniyal Aziz’s statement about illegality of removing Sindh
Islamabad January 24, 2005:
Pakistan Peoples Party has welcomed the statement of NRB chief Daniyal Aziz
ins which he said that removal of Sindh nazims was not in accordance with
In an interview with an English Daily today Chairman National Reconstruction
Bureau Daniyal Aziz said that under sections 186 (2) and 187 of the Local
Government Ordinance, the removal of nazimeen in Sindh is not in accordance
with the law.
He also said, "The administrators should not have been appointed because the
law suggests an interim nazim from within the members of the district
assembly" adding also that although the provincial governments have powers
to remove the nazims, ‘there are certain set rules and regulations for
taking such an extreme step’, which were not followed.
Four district Nazims in Sindh, all belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party
were sacked late last month in a move heavily criticized by political
analysts as a move to impose a one party dictatorship in the country. The
sacked nazims have already moved courts of justice.
In a statement today spokesman of the Party said that it welcomed the NRB
chief’s courageous statement. "It takes character and courage to speak out
the truth particularly when the truth is against the officially certified
Now that Daniyal Aziz is convinced of the illegality of the removal of the
nazimeen he should also take the next step and undo the illegality, he said.
He said that earlier the regime targeted for division and redrawing of
boundaries of only those districts where the elected Nazimeen belonged to
the PPP. The move was followed by suspension of the four nazims making the
bifurcation of districts as the pretext.
He said that the regime was continually denying political space to the
Party. The Party was denied political space as obstacles were created to
prevent it from forming governments in Sindh and at the Centre by rigging
the Elections of 2002. The Parliament session was indefinitely postponed
until the Opposition was factionalised and a one-member majority created for
the ruling party alliance known as the PML Q, he said.
The PPP with its allies then became the second largest bloc in the
Parliament but the appointment of Leader of Opposition in the Parliament was
not made for two years just to deny it the political space. The nomination
was made only after the PPP was further factionalised to enable the
religious parties nominee to be appointed Leader of Opposition in the
National Assembly, he said.
Most of the PPP nazims in Punjab were pressured to quit the Party last year,
The spokesman said that just as Daniyal Aziz had himself spilled the beans
so would some other conscientious person in the present set up would also
muster courage and spill beans about the high handedness and gerrymandering
against the PPP by the military junta.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Greets Muslims on Eid-ul-Azha
Asks Muslims on Eid day for ending poverty and unemployment that has
deprived people of true joy
Islamabad January 20, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has greeted Muslims throughout the world on the eve of
Eid-ul-Azha falling on Friday January 21. Following is the text of her
message "Eid-ul-Azha has a two-fold theme for the Muslims throughout the
world. First, sacrifice ones most prized possession to Allah's will and
second the unity of the ummah.
"Today we commemorate the supreme sacrifice offered by Hazrat Ibrahim (May
Allah be pleased with him). In doing so we affirm unity of action in an
imperishable bond of brotherhood.
"I greet the Muslims throughout the world in general and of Pakistan in
particular on this auspicious occasion.
"This celebration is also an occasion to reflect on the message that came
through Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him. The message of Islam is a
message of consensus and of the rights of the weak and the dispossessed. Let
us determine that we have an obligation to our community through which we
attain a higher purpose in life.
"Let us therefore resolve to end tyranny where we see it and to end poverty
"Even as we celebrate the great occasion of Eid, it saddens me that so many
of our people are living in despair and misery brought by unemployment, low
wages or lack of justice.
" The deprivation and helplessness of the people is dramatized by the
allegations of rape of a female Doctor in Baluchistan leading to massive
protest, kidnapping and blowing up of gas installations and the talk of
launching military action.
"Let us therefore also pray on this day that the deprivations of the people
will soon be over and they regain their civil and economic rights".
PPP Warns of Impending Economic Crash Claims of Breaking Begging Bowl Belied
by Borrowings Through Bonds
Islamabad, 19 January 2005:
Former federal Minister and PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar MNA has said that
the botched up wheat policy had made a net importer of the main staple and
warned that the situation would further worsen due to this year’s sowing
In a statement today he said that trade deficit had tripled to $2.4 billion
in the first half of this year as compared to $723 million in the same
period last year. This along with rising inflation, unemployment and poverty
will further compound the miseries of the people.
"While the regime boasts of economic take off, all the indicators pointed
towards a crash landing of the economy", said Naveed Qamar who is also the
convener of the economic coordinating cell of the Party.
He said that the figures of the first half of the year indicated that the
annual deficit was expected to exceed $5 billion as against the target of $3
billion. According to the latest figures released by the government, the gap
between imports and exports of the country was widening and there was no
choice but to resort to large scale borrowing, he said.
The PPP leader said that the much trumpeted "12-billion dollar" reserves,
gained as a windfall due to post 9/11 remittances had started depleting. The
failure of the government to boost exports to meet the country’s foreign
exchange needs has been exposed.
He said that the benefits of bumper cotton crop this year would not be
reaped because of the failure of the government to prepare itself for new
WTO-based "quota – free" trade regime.
"Lack of incentives for the oil and gas exploration industry has exposed us
to the vagaries of fluctuating world oil market. Were it not for the Oil and
gas policy of the PPP given in the mid-nineties, the economic situation
would have been grimmer".
He said that at a time when government is boasting of breaking the begging
bowl, it is ironic that we are forced to borrow in the open market through
Islamic bonds and other market instruments at interest rates much higher
than the IMF’s rates. As the rupee comes under pressure due to the deficit,
the remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis will also be affected
negatively, he said.
Opposition Demands Joint Session of Parliament for National Consensus on
Provincial Autonomy and Baluchistan
Islamabad January 19, 2005:
Leader of the opposition in the Senate Mian Raza Rabbani has demanded
convening of a joint session of the Parliament to discuss what he said the
‘grim and volatile situation’ in Baluchistan. In a statement today Mian Raza
Rabbani asked the ruler to heed the writing on the wall and not take the
situation in Baluchsitan lightly. The regime must find a political solution
through dialogue rather than hurling threats and warnings like ‘it is not
70’s’, he said and added "Joint sitting of the Parliament is the best forums
to evolve national consensus on issues of provincial autonomy and unrest in
a federating unit, Baluchsitan". Brute force has never solved complex
political issues. Hurling threats will only exacerbate an already volatile
situation. "If the rulers are shy of convening a joint session it should at
least summon sessions of the two houses separately. As representative of the
federating units the Senate session must be convened soon after Eid. "Urgent
session is all the more important as the Parliamentary Committee on
Baluchsitan had become ineffective due to the withdrawal of the Baluchistan
National Party (Mengal) from it". "The feelings of deprivation in the
province were accentuated recently by feelings of helplessness and
voicelessness due to the unfortunate incident of gang rape of a lady doctor
and the ruler’s deafening silence over it until the booming rockets forced
them to heed the cries of protestors. "Therefore in case the rulers do not
summon the Senate session the opposition in the Party House will requisition
PPP condemns selective pursuit of NAB cases against politicians
Asks NAB bosses to show spine and refuse to be used as political tool
Islamabad January 17, 2005:
Spokesman of the PPP has condemned the double standards of the regime in
selectively pursuing cases against politicians and using NAB as its
political arm for achieving its political agenda.
"The Party also demands of the NAB bosses to either show spine and stand up
against being used as political tool or resign from their jobs", said a
spokesperson of the Party in a statement today.
The spokesman was commenting of reports in a section of the press that the
NAB has withdrawn the last reference pending against Federal Minister
Liaquat Jatoi upon finding ‘no evidence against him’.
Earlier, two references against the federal Minister were withdrawn in
November and this was the third case that was withdrawn after the Mr. Jatoi
living in exile ditched the democratic opposition to join the King’s Party,
Recent press reports also said that nearly 500 cases against MQM men
including Chief Altaf Hussain, Imran Farooq, Saleem Shezad and Zulfiqar
Haider have been withdrawn and another 136 cases are under consideration for
Cases against MQM Governor of Sindh Mr. Ishrat ul Ibad have also been
withdrawn and a question asked in the Senate about it was killed in the
Chamber, he said.
Besides cases were also withdrawn against some MMA leaders in Baluchistan on
the eve of their induction into the cabinet in 2002. Nuclear scientist Dr.
A.Q. Khan was let off even after confessing to selling weapons of mass
destruction. Last year cases were also withdrawn against federal minister
Jehangir Tareen, the spokesman recalled.
It is a great pity that uniformed personnel in the NAB have acquiesced into
becoming willing tools in the hands of the rulers for political ends, he
The spokesman said that the code of honorable conduct demanded that when the
Supreme Court recently made the stinging observation of ‘malafide intent’ in
BMW case against Mr. Asif Zardari the NAB bosses should have resigned.
It is a great tragedy when public functionaries wearing glittering
medallions in high places succumb to the trappings of power and pelf and
fail to act in accordance with the code of honorable conduct that is
preached by them ad museum, he said.
Mohtarma Bhutto concerned over instability in Baluchistan
Asks for review of tidal wave and earthquake warning systems around Pakistan
Islamabad January 15, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto expressed concern over the rising instability in the province
of Balauchistan and said that following the unrest in Waziristan, the writ
of state was being challenged in Balauchistan.
She was talking to a delegation of Pakistan community who had called on her
to offer congratulations on the release of former Federal Minister Senator
Asif Ali Zardari,
The former Prime Minister said that there were reports that the problems
around Sui, which provided gas to cities across Pakistan, arose over the
rape of a lady doctor.
Condemning crimes against women she said that this crime was all the more
serious as it was alleged that a person in uniform led the assault.
She called for a judicial inquiry and suspension of the official and others
involved in the attack pending the inquiry. Mohtarma said that incidents
involving clashes between the population at large and of personnel in
uniform was not good for the image of the army amongst the population.
It was important to restore the image by taking firm action against such
violators of law. In this connection, she mentioned that officials involved
in Okara Military Farms Scandal, Badin Fisheries Scandal and Balauchistan
Lady Doctor Scandal need to be proceeded against through an open and
transparent inquiry to restore public confidence.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that the natural disaster in the form of
Tsunami was felt deeply by people of Pakistan. She said that the people of
Pakistan mourned with the families of those affected. She said that this
natural calamity had destroyed the lives of millions of people while
millions others were still threatened by disease and malnutrition following
She noted that people of Pakistan, including students, had been donating
generously for Tsunami victims. She called upon the world community to make
a full program for relief and rehabilitation of the Tsunami victims.
The former Prime Minister also called upon Islamabad to review tidal wave
and earthquake warning systems around Pakistan and in the sea bordering the
country's coastal belt. She noted that those countries which had flourishing
mangroves were not so affected by Tsunami.
She called upon the regime to take immediate measures to restore the
diminishing mangroves of the coastal belt of Pakistan. She recalled that as
Patron of the Environment, Senator Asif Ali Zardari had taken many measures
to safeguard the environment. However, after overthrow of the PPP
government, the pro environment measures had been abandoned. She said that
the terrible Tsunami was a warning to all countries, and especially
Pakistan, to take oversee its own care of nature as well as warning systems
to protect the people and the land from devastation.
The former Prime Minister also expressed concern over the spread of a skin
disease named leshminiasis, which is spreading rapidly in the southern
province of Sindh. The disease is spreading havoc due to lack of medical
facilities. She called for providing swift medical assistance to prevent the
spread of the disease and up gradation of the medical institutes and
hospitals of Pakistan to help ordinary people of the country lead healthy
She said that the PPP was committed to increasing health expenditure as well
as other social expenditure adding that the hallmarks of all PPP governments
were greater attention to the social welfare of the masses, which is what
made PPP the most popular party in the country.
She said that despite the persecution PPP faced as a popular party upholding
the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan to health, education,
employment and fundamental rights, PPP was still determined to be the voice
of the people
Nobody can stop Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s return to the country Naheed
Islamabad, 13 January 2005:
Naheed Khan MNA, the political Secretary of Chairperson Pakistan Peoples
Party, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has very strongly reacted to General
Musharraf’s assertion that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto would not be allowed to
return to the country and demanded of him to render an apology to the nation
for undermining peoples’ will and intellect.
Naheed Khan in a statement said that Pakistan is not a personal fiefdom of
any dictator who can send any Pakistani citizen into exile and stop him or
her from returning to their country. She said that Pakistan belongs to 150
million brave Pakistanis who know how to defend their leaders. She said that
General Musharraf should have thought before making this statement because
he was talking about the most popular leadership of the country and Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto lives in the heart of the people. General Musharraf should
have realized that the People of Pakistan reposed confidence in her
leadership in the last election and her party got the majority of votes and
general Musharraf should ask for an apology from the nation who have immense
love and respect for its leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, she said.
Naheed Khan said that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is the symbol of unity,
federation and democracy in the country. No political system can be
sustained without her participation. Naheed Khan said that Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto would return to the country and she does not require permission of
any dictator to return to her people. Naheed Khan said that party would
decide the timing of her return and when the decision is made by the party
no individual would be able to stop her from returning to Pakistan, she
Mohtarma Bhutto felicitates Mian Raza Rabbani
January 12, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir has welcomed the notification of Senator Mian Raza Rabbani as leader
of the opposition in the Senate.
In a statement today she noted that although the Upper House remained
without opposition leader for nearly two years due to the delay in the
notification, it was a positive development for the moderate opposition that
its leader was notified as the leader of the opposition in the senate by the
It may be recalled that under the Senate rules the nomination of opposition
leader is to be made on the basis of the majority of the opposition members
supporting an opposition senator. The PPPP nominee Senator Mian Raza Rabbani
had the support of 22 senators belonging to the democratic opposition
parties, which constituted the largest opposition group in the Senate. As
such the PPPP nominee as the joint candidate of the Opposition should have
been nominated as opposition leader earlier on merit. However, Mohtarma said
that it is "never too late to take the steps that can ultimately help
develop a healthy democratic spirit in the country".
Mohtarma Bhutto said that Senator Mian Raza Rabbani is an accomplished
parliamentarian with Senatorial experience having been elected thrice to the
Senate. He is "informed on issues, a good debater and hard working political
activist with a commitment to Federalism, Democracy, Provincial Autonomy and
Egalitarianism. In defense of freedom, he has suffered head injuries as well
as other challenges. His appointment will add further substance to the
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto thanked the senators from the allied democratic
opposition parties including the PML(N), ANP, JWP, BNP(M),BNM, PkMAP who
with the PPP Parliamentarians formed the joint group that led to the
nomination of Senator Raza Rabbani as Senate opposition leader.
The former Prime Minister wished Raza Rabbani well in his new role as the
Mian Raza Rabbani thanks democratic opposition
Islamabad January 11, 2005:
Parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate Mian Raza Rabbani has thanked
all members of the democratic opposition in the Senate for supporting him as
opposition leader in the Upper House and invited the entire opposition to
join hands in the Senate on common issues. Mian Raza Rabbani also thanked
the Chairperson PPP, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for nominating him for the slot
of opposition leader in the Senate and expressed the hope that he will
measure up to her expectations. "I wish to thank all members of the
democratic opposition in the Senate including the PML (N), ANP, JWP,
BNP(M),BNM, PkMAP and my own party PPP for reposing confidence in me as
their leader in the Upper House. It is only because of the confidence and
trust reposed in me by all of them that it was possible for me to become the
opposition leader in the Senate. "I deem my nomination both as a great honor
and a great responsibility. It will be my utmost endeavor to rise to the
expectation of all those who have reposed their trust in me. "Senate is the
voice of the units of federation. The federating units have problems ranging
from issues of provincial autonomy, to the NFC Award, water distribution,
the deprivation of smaller provinces, to name only a few. Together with my
colleagues in the Senate we would address these and other issues of the
federating units with seriousness of purpose and a belief that the strength
of the country lies in the strength of its federating units."The opposition
parties in the Senate have a formidable combined strength. While each
opposition party holds a distinct view on national issues in accordance with
its manifesto there also are some critical national issues on which the
entire opposition is united. It will be my endeavor to take the entire
opposition along in the Senate. I look forward to the understanding and
cooperation of all opposition members. "I also wish to thank the Chairman
Senate for finally realizing the anomaly of the upper house being without
the opposition leader for an unprecedented long time. By addressing this
anomaly even though belatedly a long standing aberration has been
Mohtarma Bhutto condemns thrashing of Okara tenants
Deplores action as damaging the image of the country
Islamabad, January 11, 2005
- Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condemned the aggression Monday against the
tenants of military farmlands in Okara and demanded of the regime to
immediately bring to an end the latest wave of repression and withdraw the
uniformed personnel from the land.
Persistent use of brutal force against the farmers is damaging the image of
the country, she said in a statement today.
The Anjuman Mazarain Punjab (AMP) Monday complained of yet another wave of
harassment and intimidation of tenants. According to the AMP about two
hundred armed personnel in battle fatigue attacked the fields Monday morning
warning the tenants to either surrender their right to occupation or vacate
the lands. When the tenants resisted they were thrashed with batons. A woman
tenant belonging to chak 15-4/L was severely injured and a tenant taken into
The Senate also recently took note of the lingering problem and made
recommendations on how to address the issue. "It is an affront to the
elected Parliament that the military personnel have so brazenly disregarded
Parliament's recommendations and decided to settle the matter through brute
The Senate report also said that since the land belonged to Punjab the
provincial government should also be involved in resolving the dispute. It
also called for an end to the victimization of tenants for refusing to agree
to the contract system instead of the crop sharing system in vogue since
The Senate report had also lamented the massive human rights violations of
the tenants and the filing of false cases against them and recommended that
the investigations into cases should be entrusted to agencies outside Okara.
The Anjuman Mazarain Punjab (AMP), the representative body of the tenants,
has said that this action by the military will not go unchallenged. The AMP
leaders also called upon the Punjab government to intervene, saying that the
military had no right to treat the land as its private property.
Last year the Human Rights Watch also criticized the torture of Okara
tenants. "Pakistan's military and paramilitary forces are brutalizing their
own people in the Punjab instead of protecting them," said the HRW report.
"It's a dangerous moment in Pakistan when the military turns on its own core
The report said that even children of the farmers were tortured to coerce
them into signing tenancy agreements.
The former Prime Minister demanded that a judicial probe into the shameless
and barbaric incidents of torture of tenants. She said that she was shocked
beyond measure that the security forces continued with killing and torturing
farmers in the Punjab with impunity because they refused to sign contracts
to cede their land rights to the army.
The PPP Chairperson called upon the regime to stop the torture of poor
peasants and punish those 'responsible for inflicting torture on the tenants
and heaping shame on the nation'.
She also demanded that ownership rights to the tenants on the state lands in
Okara before the situation turned even worse.
"The PPP calls upon the intellectuals, the youth and the political parties
to raise their voice against these shameful actions which has stigmatize the
whole nation. It also urges the Chief Justice to take suo moto notice of the
continued harassment of the Okara tenants".
Mohtarma Bhutto felicitates President Mahmoud Abbas
Islamabad January 11, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has felicitated Mahmoud Abbas on his election as President of
the Palestinian people. "This is a historic moment for the people of
Palestine", she said in a letter addressed to the newly elected President
and added, "surely this is a moment of great significance as you become the
first Palestinian President following the passing away of the legendary
President Yasser Arafat". "The people of Palestine have placed the mantle of
leadership on your shoulders". She said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with
you and with the Palestinian people". We pray that your victory can move
forward the agenda of peace negotiations with Israel for the emergence of a
independent and viable Palestinian state, the letter said. "The Pakistan
Peoples Party and I offer you our congratulations on your election as
President of the Palestinian people", she said and prayed for "your success
and the success of the Palestinian people".
PPP denounces double standards in pursuing cases against politicians
Islamabad January 10, 2005:
Secretary General of the PPP Parliamentarians Raja Pervez Ashraf MNA has
denounced the double standards of the regime in withdrawing cases against
some and pursuing against others for political reasons.
The PPP leader who is also the deputy parliamentary leader in the National
Assembly said this in a statement commenting on press reports that nearly
500 cases against MQM men including Chief Altaf Hussain, Imran Farooq,
Saleem Shezad Zulfiqar Haider and others have been withdrawn and further 136
cases are under consideration of Home Department Sindh, for withdrawal for
Raja Pervez Ashraf said that it was a worst manifestation of double
standards when cases against members of a coalition political party and
nuclear scientist Dr A. Q. Khan are withdrawn while political opponents are
implicated in false and fictitious case that are also pursued relentlessly.
He said that NAB is on record to have stated in reply to a question on the
floor of the House that cases instituted against some sitting ministers and
chairmen of the standing committees have been closed. Federal Ministers
Liaquat Jatoi and Jehangir Tareen are among the federal ministers against
whom there were NAB cases but the same have since been withdrawn.
On the other hand even the Supreme Court had observed that the BMW case
against Mr. Asif Zardari appeared to have been instituted with malafide
intent, he said. "Such a stinging indictment of the prosecution should make
the regime reflect on what it is doing and persuade the NAB bosses to
The PPP leader demanded of the regime to withdraw false and motivated cases
against opposition PPP leaders, free political prisoners and allow the exile
political leadership to return safely to the country
Bhutto urges opposition to reject Musharraf's amendments to constitution
Islamabad, January 6, 2005|17:43
premier Benazir Bhutto on Thursday urged Opposition groups to step up
pressure on President Pervez Musharraf by protesting amendments to the
Constitution that gave him sweeping powers.
Musharraf, who seized the
power in a bloodless coup in 1999, told the nation in a televised speech
last week that he has restored real democracy and that he would continue to
hold the offices of both president and army chief till the year 2007.
parliamentary elections in 2002 and turned the day-to-day running of the
country over to the prime minister.
However, he pushed
through Constitutional amendments that give him the power to dismiss the
prime minister and Parliament.
"We all should reject the
amendments that have been made (to the Constitution)," Bhutto told
The Opposition held joint
rallies earlier this month, rejecting Musharraf's claim that he had restored
They also vowed to
continue protests until Musharraf agrees to quit his army post.
Bhutto said on Thursday
that her Pakistan People's Party was ready to cooperate with a coalition of
religious parties, called Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, or MMA, to force
Musharraf to shed his uniform.
"We agree with them (MMA)
on some issues, like they say that Musharraf should remove his (army)
uniform," she said in the interview in Dubai, where she has lived since
in 1999 to avoid arrest over several corruption cases.
Bhutto was the Prime
Minister in 1980s and again in 1990s, but both times her government was
dismissed over allegations of misrule and corruption.
Last month, Bhutto's
husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was released from eight years in prison over
corruption cases after the Supreme Court granted him bail.
Zardari later travelled to
where he is living with his family.
Words of Shaheed
There was a great Prime Minister, the first Prime Minister, the father
of the present Prime Minister of India, who said, "We were too old, we
were too tired to oppose Pakistan, and Pakistan had to come into being.
But we hope that one day we will get together gain." I too hope so, not
that Pakistan will emerge as subservient to India but in the sense that
we will get together again as equal friends, in a common fraternity,
living in a common subcontinent and sharing the common effort of seeing
that poverty, ignorance and misery are wiped out. If there are any two
countries in world that are the poorest in the world, they are Pakistan
and India. Our resources might be tremendous, but the fact is that we
two are the poorest in the world. Yet in the last 24 years, we have gone
to war three times. Three times there has been conflict in the
subcontinent. I remember that Prime Minister of the Soviet Union once
telling me that even rich nations try to avoide war; poorer nations
should make a greater attempt to avoid war.
Speech at the Security Council, New York
December 12, 1971