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Zardari for promoting girl education

Calls for purging curriculum of hate material

Islamabad May 19, 2017: A 25-member delegation of Akakheil Itehad Pakistan (AIP), a social welfare organization working in Peshawar, Karachi and Swat, led by its Chairman Haji Noor Sher Akakhail called on former President Asif Ali Zardari in Zardari House Islamabad Friday evening and pledged support to the Pakistan People’s Party.

Senator Sardar Ali Khan, Dr Qayyum Soomro, Political Secretary Rukhsana Bangash and Farhatullah Babar were also present on the occasion.

The leader of the delegation explained the social welfare activities undertaken by AIP in different areas most notably in Swat.

Talking to the delegation the former President appreciated the social and philanthropic work undertaken by them to assist in the rehabilitation of people in Swat that was ravaged by militancy in not too distant past.

Education particularly girls education is key to fighting militant mindset the former President said and urged the AIP to focus on the spread of education. Malala is an inspiring example in promoting quest for education, he said. The people of Pakistan in general and of Swat in particular are beholden to her for her struggle and sacrifice for upholding the right of girls to education.

Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that Zardari also called for “revisiting the curriculum” on the one hand and to encourage free enquiry, discussion and debate in academic institutions on the other. Curriculum must be purged of any hate material that promoted religious extremism and sectarianism, he said.

The delegation thanked the former President for the meeting.

 

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Zardari denounces roll back of FATA reforms process

Says the Party will struggle alongside people of FATA in quest for merger and reforms

Islamabad May 19, 2017: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has deplored that the FATA reforms package announced with fanfare in August last year has fizzled out as a political stunt and warned that ignoring political reforms in the tribal areas would exhaust the patience of the people and will be detrimental to national cohesion and integrity.

He said this while talking to a delegation of FATA parliamentarians who called on him in Zardari House in Islamabad Friday afternoon.

The FATA MPs delegation included MNs Shahjee Gul Afridi and Sajid Turi and Senator Sajid Turi. Head of PPP FATA chapter Akhunzada Chattan, Senator Sardar Ali Khan, Provincial Information Secretary PPP Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Political Secretary Rukhsana Bangash were also present in the meeting.

Deploring that the government had gone back on the reforms package Shahjee Gul Afridi MNA said that they planned to hold protest demonstrations and an All Parties Conference to work out strategy for merger of tribal areas in KPK and for reforms implementation and also invited the former President to join their effort.

Mr. Zardari said the PPP had flung opened the door of reforms in FATA in 2011 by announcing far reaching changes in the draconian FCR as well as opening tribal areas to political activities and jalsas by all political parties adding also that the Party will be happy to participate in any endeavor that FATA MPs may devise for pushing for reforms.

Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the former President has already asked the Party Parliamentarians to rejects the proposed Riwaj Act as against basic human rights and being inconsistent with the goal of FATA merger in the province of KPK.

Zardari said that the powers of the President to legislate for FATA without the participation of its people and the draconian FCR were two colonial structures which must be demolished by transferring the powers to legislate for FATA to the Parliament.

For mainstreaming FATA needs to be merged in KPK, he said and recalled that KPK provincial Assembly has passed unanimous resolution. The elected Parliamentarians of FATA were also in favour of merger. All political parties with the exception of two have endorsed merger. By and large the people of tribal areas have, on various platforms, called for merger in the province.

The government and those opposing reforms and merger are doing a great disservice to the nation , he said. By denying the people of tribal areas their rights and wishes these elements are playing with fire he said.

Former President Zardari also called for strong local governments in FATA for the empowerment of its people.

He said that the reforms were announced in Aug 2016 but it took over eight months for cabinet to approve in March 17.  Despite reservations about the package everyone hailed the move to reform FATA.

But the Bills brought in National Assembly the other day negated the reforms process. Jurisdiction of superior courts was not extended to FATA, as was promised. The Riwaj Act, instead of abolishing the FCR, has further strengthened the century old draconian law.

The draft Riwaj Act was never made public despite demands from stake holders. As a matter of fact the government has brazenly gone back on the promised merger of FATA with KPK. Now it talks of ‘mainstreaming’ instead of merger.

It has also gone back on the promise to empower people. Neither the Local Government Bill has been shared with political parties nor brought before NA. The PPP will not permit the government to roll back the FATA reforms process, he said.

 

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PTI has pushed old Pakistan to ruins: Zardari

PESHAWAR: Taking a swipe at the federal government, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday repeated his claim that his party would form the next government at the Centre and in all the four provinces.

He maintained that the PPP would not allow the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to undermine the country.

Speaking at a news conference on the last day of his five-day visit, Zardari maintained that the PML-N could neither run the government nor maintain good relations with neighbouring countries.

“The same is the case with the PTI, which instead of making ‘Naya Pakistan’ has pushed the old one towards destruction,” he remarked. Zardari said that the lion was a beast and tsunami brings destruction. He said the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had rendered sacrifices for the creation of Pakistan. He stated that some irresponsible people imposed a war on the country, but the people created history by facing and defeating terrorism.

The former President of Pakistan said some people believed that the now defunct Soviet Union would not retreat after its invasion of Afghanistan so they resorted to making suicide bombers and this policy made life miserable for the people.

He said a particular mindset caused defeats in Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. “In these wars, the Muslims are fighting against Muslims and the faithful from both sides are suffering,” he deplored.

The PPP, he said, rehabilitated millions of internally displaced persons within three months after the 2009 military operation in Swat. “We managed to do all this because the world was supporting us but now the situation is totally different,” he argued.

The PPP co-chairman said the privatisation of government institutions was not acceptable to his party and it would cancel all such agreements if voted to power. He said his party’s government would reopen the report of the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar tragedy.

He promised that salaries of government servants would be increased in line with the price hike. Zardari said that decisions about the status of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were being made without taking all the stakeholders into confidence.

He said the president and the governor had been given powers, but Parliament was ignored. He asked members of the ruling PML-N to support the PPP if they were opposed to the bill about Fata’s future.

Terming his visit to Peshawar as part of his political activities, the former president said he would come again and listen to the grievances of the workers by holding a workers’ convention.

Zardari said the upcoming general election would be different from that of 2013 in which the PPP was not allowed to campaign freely and reach out to the people. He said that this time the PPP workers would leave the polling stations only after getting election results and would not allow the returning officers to manipulate the outcome of the polls.

Zardari said that his daughter Aseefa Bhutto and his sister Faryal Talpur would run the party’s election campaign in Sindh while he and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would supervise the campaign in Balochistan, southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

To a question, Zardari said his doors were open to all, including the former PPP leader and now chief of Qaumi Watan party, Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, if he wanted to rejoin the party. During the PPP’s last term in office, he recalled that electricity was being provided to consumers at Rs7 per unit while now its rate had gone up to Rs14.

He admitted there were differences in the PPP, adding, he was confident to solve all issues. Former chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, PPP Secretary General Faisal Karim Kundi, former minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and other party leaders accompanied Zardari during his visit.

Meanwhile, Zardari held meetings with his party’s provincial office-bearers and members of the women wing, labour wing and minorities’ wing at the residence of the PPP provincial president Humayun Khan. He also visited the residence of late provincial assembly speaker Abdul Akbar Khan to offer condolences to his family. Abdul Akbar, a veteran PPP leader, died some months ago.

Asim Yasin adds: Meanwhile, in his directive to party leaders, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari called for transferring powers of the president and his agent, the KP governor, to legislate for Fata to Parliament to empower the people and for ushering in genuine reforms in the tribal areas.

In the directive, Asif Zardari said that making the president and governor as the sole lords of Fata and the FCR were two colonial instruments to keep the people subjugated. “The twin pillars of colonial power structure must be demolished.”

PPP Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that after talking to media in Peshawar at the end of his 5-day visit to city the former president also asked the party parliamentarians to reject the proposed Riwaj Act as against basic human rights besides being inconsistent with the goal of Fata merger in the province of KP. TheNews

 

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Zardari asks Party legislators to reject Riwaj Act, seek transfer of President powers to legislate to Parliament

Islamabad May 17: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has called for transferring  powers of President and his Agent Governor KPK to legislate for FATA to the Parliament to empower the people and for ushering in genuine reforms in the tribal areas.

Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that after talking to media in Peshawar at the end of his 5-day visit to city the former President also asked the Party Parliamentarians  to reject the proposed Riwaj Act as against basic human rights besides being inconsistent with the goal of FATA merger in the province of KPK.

In his directive to Party leaders the former President said that making President and Governor as the sole lords of FATA and the FCR were two colonial instruments to keep the people subjugated. The twin pillars of colonial power structure must be demolished, the former President said in his directive.

During his visit to Peshawar Zardari also addressed a tribal jirga besides talking bout reforms in tribal areas in his press conference today at the conclusion of his visit, senator Babar said.

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PPP’s focus is on resolving people’s problems: Zardari

 PESHAWAR: President PPPP Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that his party’s focus was on resolving problems facing the country and not indulging in a political fight with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Zardari was talking to reporters after visiting the residence of MNA Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, where he offered condolences over the death of the latter’s wife.

Former Chief Minister of Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khurshid Shah, PPP’s Punjab chapter president Qamar Zaman Kaira also accompanied Zardari.

“Pakhtuns have always supported PPP. We will continue to visit cities of KP,” he said. To a question, the former president said that during his tenure, he had paid more visits to China than PM Nawaz.

“I have seen no change in KP during my five-day visit to Peshawar,” he said while criticising the PTI.

“I have a long association with KP and Peshawar. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour has been a friend of my father,” Zardari said. “I have learned a lot about politics from Bilour. I have been encouraged by the warm reception I got from my Pakhtun brothers,” he said.

Later, Zardari also met parents of the martyrs of Army Public School (APS) attack.

Earlier on Monday, he had addressed the Grand FATA Jirga. While addressing the tribal elders, he had said that the rulers would face tough times if they did not help the people.

On Sunday, he had accused the federal government of being partial in planning the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. “They have deviated from the provinces towards Islamabad. The rulers of the country believe that their ‘Mughal rule’ will continue,” he had said. TheDailyTimes

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Zardari terms FATA reforms package political gimmick

Vows to integrate FATA in KPK, extension of High Courts jurisdiction, end to FCR

Islamabad May 15, 2017: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the government was not sincere in implementing FATA reforms package and challenged the government to prove its sincerity.

He was addressing a representative gathering of hundreds of tribal people drawn from all tribal agencies and Frontier Regions in Tehkal in Peshawar today on the third day of his tour of provincial metropolis.

It took nine months for the cabinet to approve the so called reforms package on March 2. Now on the eve of budget Bills have been introduced in the National Assembly without bringing them to the attention of opposition or tribal people let alone seeking a broad based consensus on them, he said.

He said that the government will now pretend to pass the Bills hurriedly and blame the opposition for delay if it raised questioned whether the so called Riwaj Bill was re-incarnation of the hated Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) under a different name.

Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted the President as saying that the amendment Bill brought by the government today was a gimmick to score political brownies on the eve of 2017 budget.

Zardari said that the PPP had flung open the door of reforms in FATA in 2011 and will carry forward the reform process once it gets into power after the elections.

A fundamental issue in mainstreaming FATA is the resistance of vested interests including bureaucracy which is loathe to loosen its iron grip on tribal areas, he said.

What is needed is to break the nexus between bureaucratic complex and Presidency to continue hold on tribal areas.

Once this was done all other issues whether merger in KPK, local governments and extending jurisdiction of superior courts will automatically follow he said.

He said that as President he transferred Presidential powers to the Parliament and opened up the reforms process in FATA.

What is needed now is to transfer the Presidential powers with regard to FATA to Parliament as well to move forward, he said.

This indeed is the PPP agenda and the Party will do it when it comes into power. The present government which believes in concentration of power is neither capable nor willing to do so, he said.

The office of President should not be the lord of tribal areas concentrating all legislative and executive powers in the hands of Presidency and its agent the Governor KPK.

This is a colonial structure to keep the tribal people under tight control and this structure must be demolished, he said.

The legislative powers in respect of FATA should be transferred to the Parliament from the President and the genuinely elected representatives allowed participation and self governance, he said.

It is a fallacy to argue that the tribal people cannot be subjected to the laws of Pakistan. The tribal people across the border are governed under the laws of Kabul and there is no conflict with the Riwaj of the tribes.

A large number of people from all tribal agencies live in settled districts of KPK and other parts of Pakistan and have no problem living with the laws of Pakistan. They also live and work in ME where the laws are even more stringent but neither their riwaj nor the traditional jirga has stood in the way.

He said that the committees of parliament and media be allowed to visit tribal areas to tear apart the shroud of secrecy that has been deliberately woven around FATA by the vested interests.

He said that the PPP government had increased the PSDP for FATA from 3 billion to 19 billion rupees, made changes in the FCR disallowing arrest of women and children in the name of collective responsibility, allowed all political parties to function in tribal areas.

He lamented that the PPP plans for Medical College Bajaur, IT University in Kurram , University in Kohat and a cadet college in every Agency was shelved by the present government.

Zardari said that the Party will continue to struggle for the merger of tribal areas in KPK, extending the jurisdiction of high court and supreme court to the tribal areas and for doing away with the notorious FCR.

The tribal jals was also addressed by PPP FATA president Akhunzada Chattan and party heads of all tribal agencies.

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Former President Zardari condemned murder of labors in Gawadar

Islamabad, 13 May 2017: Former President of Pakistan and President Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemning brutal killing of labors in Gawadar has said that it is terrorism of worst kind.

Former President in a statement said that labors were innocent and the elements that planned their murder and became facilitators of this heinous crime should be brought to book and be given harsh punishment. He asked federal and provincial governments to provide maximum compensation to the bereaved families. He also sympathized with the bereaved families.

 

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Maulana Sairajul Haq called on former President Asif Ali Zardari

Islamabad, 12 May, 2017: Ameer Jamat-i-Islami Maulana Sairajul Haq called on former President Asif Ali Zardari at Zardari House Islamabad on Friday afternoon.

 

Both leaders discussed current political situation in the country. Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik and JI leader Mian Aslam were also present on the occasion.

 

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Former President Zardari condemned attack on convoy of Deputy Chairman Senate

Islamabad, 12 May 2017: Former President of Pakistan and President Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemning attack on the convoy of Deputy Chairman Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that it has become necessary to eliminate the mindset of terror.

Former President said that the nurseries of terror have to be removed from society. He demanded to apprehend and bring to book the perpetrators and conspirators of attack on Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. He also prayed for early recovery of Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and other injured. He also sympathized with the bereaved families of the victims of this attack.

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In a polarized world, we need Sufi to bridge gap, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tells Sufi Conference

KARACHI, May 5: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that now as the world becomes increasingly polarized, today we need the Sufi, more than ever before. We need that universal language of the mystic to unite us. “To bridge the gap across religions, cultures and people. To remind us that at our very core, we are all one;  we are all the same,” the PPP Chairman stated while addressing 2-day International Sufi Conference organization by Sindh Culture Department at a local hotel here today.

Scholars on Sufism from twelve countries were invited to the Conference to share Sufi pearls with a carefully selected audience. Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP Sindh President and Minister for Food Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Minister Culture Sardar Ali Shah and others also spoke on the occasion.  

 “Let me begin by welcoming our foreign scholars and other distinguished guests who have travelled to be a part of this conference. When scholars of your stature and your beliefs sit together, and deliberate, it brings me great hope for the future of humanity,” he said.

 He also congratulated our dynamic Chief Minister, the Minister for Culture and their team for putting together this spectacular event, which is much needed at this time.

 “Sufis have only ever spoken of change through the self. It is only when we conquer ourselves from within that we can hope to change that which surrounds us. I am awed whenever I attempt, in my own meager capacity to learn the ways of Sufism. Such immense power, the Sufi attributes to the Self. The majesty of the all encompassing Self. 

“Inter faith harmony, religious tolerance, inclusiveness; these are all terms that we hear today -That we, the progressive, like to bandy about, when we discuss the cure for what ails society today. But the Sufi thought encapsulated all these and more upon its inception many hundreds of years ago. 

 “Centuries ago, it was the Sufis that spread Islam across the Indus valley. Through love and harmony, luminaries like Data sahib, Rehman Baba, Bulleh Shah and their contemporaries strove tirelessly out of sheer devotion to the Deity. And their devotion inspired millions to embrace Islam.

“Today, sadly, extremism is worn like a badge of honour. Those that lie, do so with impunity, peddling fear. Their purpose is simple – to deceive enough people that they may establish a truth of their choosing. Meanwhile, the voice of absolute Truth, (and it pains me to say this), but the voice of absolute Truth, grows dimmer. And this, is when we first concede to the extremist. The first time we forcibly quell our inner Truth and confirm to an extremist mindset; the first time we pray out of fear and not out of love; the first time we decide that our one voice of reason is not enough to fight the many unreasonable ones – that’s when we decide to lay our weapons before the fight has even begun. For the Sufi too, has his weapons. The weapons ofTruth, of Love, of Acceptance. 

 “For the very first step towards healing, is acceptance. It is as Rumi said, “the wound is the place where the Light enters you,” our society stands deeply wounded today. And the wound continues to fester, unchecked and untreated. Most of us, too afraid to acknowledge the disease – too afraid to expose the malaise, and let the Light shine through it, allowing the healing to begin. 

 “Sindh is known as the land of the Sufis. From Lal Shahbaz Qalander to Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. From Sachal Sarmast to Shah Ina-yat. We are destined to stand up for the Truth and only the Truth. Is it any surprise then, that the Bhutto family hailed from this very land? When my mother, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, raised the flag of the Truth, there were few who were willing to lend their voices to hers, and fewer still, who chose to stand beside her. But she continued, undaunted – in the proud tradition of the Sufi, the torch-bearer of the Truth. Fighting the honest fight, the non-violent fight. But the most important fight – the fight against injustice. The fight for the triumph of Truth. 

 “When barbarians attacked the shrine of Lal Shahbaz, they shook us all to the core. The devotees that were martyred took a piece of us with them. We lost our bearings. Devastated. Disoriented. We were lost. It was then, that mere hours after suicide bombers blew themselves up at that beautiful, spiritual place, that one man decided he would not cower. He got up and he rang the shrine’s bell.And that bell, while it rang, served two purposes – first, it guided us out of the dark abyss into which we were spiraling, and second, it was the verydeath knell for every extremist that dared target pluralistic Pakistan.

 “Just like that bell ringer was the harbinger of doom for all extremists, we too must not be afraid to give voice to our beliefs. We need to have faith that our lone voice WILL make a difference. We need to find in ourselves, the courage to acknowledge that we are flawed, and the strength to accept that we need help. For if today we allow ourselves to fall silent, then tomorrow, I am afraid there may just be no one left to hear us. 

 Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the audience to deliberate just how we veered so far from the path of the Sufi, and what’s the shortest and most effective way back. “Because I for one believe with all my heart that the salvation of mankind lies at the hands of the Sufi – for it is only he who has the courage to say “I looked in temples, churches, and mosques. But I found the Divine within my heart.” 

“So let’s all search within our hearts and let the journey begin,” the PPP Chairman concluded.