KARACHI - President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the Sindh government and party’s local leadership of Thatta to initiate a campaign in support of the proposed Zulfikarabad project as the Sindhi nationalists were misguiding the masses on the issue.Presiding over a meeting with PPP’s elected representatives and local leaders, journalists and provincial ministers at the Bilawal House on Tuesday, he directed the party leaders and workers to start counter campaign by telling the masses about the benefits of the Zulfikarabad project and mobilise the journalists and writers on it. Besides the PPP leaders, party’s elected representatives and journalists belonging to Thatta district, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon and Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah and others were also present in the meeting. President Zardari said that the mega city was being built for the socio-economic development of people living in Sindh, but some people had vested interests and want to defame the project.  He said that so-called opponents of the Zulfikarabad project had actually started their election campaign on this project but people would reject them. Zardari said that Zulfikarabad project would reclaim sea-intruded land in Thatta district, provide job opportunities to locals and usher an era of development to uplift their lifestyle.He said that some people had expressed reservations because of inadequate knowledge about the project. Dispelling any misperception, the President categorically said, “Nobody will dislocate you from your land as this is your land. We have to stop sea from eating land in Thatta. I have invited you to give you a true picture and also to tell you what we are doing to save your land from the sea intrusion.”He said government had sufficient land for Zulfikarabad project and land would also be reclaimed from the sea. About 90 per cent of the land was unpopulated and only 10 per cent was inhabited. However, the inhabitants will be paid reasonable compensation if their land is required for the project, he added.Zardari said that roads would be constructed and drinking water facilities will be provided in Thatta district under Zulfikarabad project. Two small sea ports will also be developed in the area, he noted.He said locals would be preferred for jobs in Zulfikarabad and youth would be provided technical training to fill the vacancies.The President said such project was vital not only to take care of the growing population but also to create more and more jobs for the educated youth.Zulfikarabad Development Authority (ZDA) Chairman Lt Gen (r) Iftikhar Hussain, during his presentation, said that Zulfikarabad would be developed as special economic zone on the pattern of Shenzhen special economic zone in China.He said 1.3 million acres of land had been allocated for this project of which 376,000 acres of land had been acquired while 957,000 acres would be reclaimed from the sea. The ZDA chairman said that the proposed city had a potential of becoming the largest manufacturing centre of Pakistan. He said the project would stop sea intrusion, save mangroves, develop fisheries sector and generate power through wind, solar and tidal wave energy. He said Sindh government was the incharge of the project while the ZDA was the executing agency and Chinese company would develop it. He said four master plans were under preparation while one comprehensive master plan was being devised by the ZDA.He said sea was eating away 18 acres of land everyday and ZDA will construct a 100 feet high and 60 feet wide dyke to protect this area from the sea.PPP Thatta President Arbab Wazir Memon thanked President Zardari for inviting the PPP leaders and workers from Thatta for taking them into confidence about Zulfikarabad project. While assuring their continued support, he thanked the President for initiating such mega project in the less developed Thatta district. MPA Haji Usman Jalbani congratulated and thanked the President for choosing Thatta district for developing a mega city there.The participants of the meeting presented various suggestions including that of countering propaganda against the proposed city project.Sources said that elected representatives and PPP leaders of Thatta urged President Asif Ali Zardari to include the elected representatives of the party in the decision-making body, Zulfikarabad Development Board, and administrative committee. Some of the PPP leaders advised the President to issue directions for investigation into tempering of revenue record of lands of Khatedars, whose land is coming in the project.They also advised to make legislation to ensure the economic and political rights of the indigenous people on the project as people are feared of becoming the minority or demographic change in future.  However, provincial minister Sassui Palijo, who boycotted from the meeting of the Sindh Cabinet last month over the Zulfikarabad project, did not attend the President’s meeting as her father Ghulam Qadir Palijo attended the meeting and supported the project. Meanwhile, an official statement issued from the Bilawal House said that President Asif Ali Zardai issued directives to Federal Water and Power Minister Ahmed Mukhtar to ensure power supply without any break during Ramazan.