RAHIM YAR KHAN – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday described the Seraiki province as a need of people and criticised the opponents, saying they were unduly targeting the PPP government by accusing it of forcing the issue unnecessarily. He said south Punjab was a deprived area and the only solution for addressing the deprivation was to establish a Seraiki province.

Gilani was addressing a public gathering in Chachran Sharif, 65 km from Rahim Yar Khan, where he inaugurated the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto (Nishtar Ghat) Bridge on River Indus.

Criticising the opponents, the prime minister said he would be counted among the ‘good’ if he left the PPP, otherwise he ‘deserved’ death.

Gilani said those, who could not contest them in elections, were hatching conspiracies against them, but added that media had created awareness among the people and no one could now harm the democratic government. “We are governing Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pk, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir with our allies successfully. We can form government in Punjab too with the help of PML-Q, but we will not do this,” he added. With an obvious reference to the PML-N, Gilani remarked, “If they get a chance, they will terminate our govt, but we will support their govt in Punjab.” He said no revolution was possible by changing loyalties and switching over to other parties. “We will create 0.1m new jobs in the next budget and finance minister has been advised to ensure the same,” Gilani announced at the gathering.

He said the employees of National Commission for Human Development had been sent to their respective provinces, but the provincial govts refused to own them. He promised that he would advise NCHD chief Nafeesa Shah to restore all the employees.

The announcement came as hundreds of NCHD employees raised slogans and protested continuously during Gilani’s speech. The prime minister told the audience that he would order to the HEC to establish an engineering university and IT block at Rahim Yar Khan.

Meanwhile, around 5,000 to 6,000 chairs had been placed at the venue to make the gathering a success; however, a police officer said 40 per cent of them remained empty.

APP adds: The prime minister said, “Marginalized areas have the right to have a separate province.” He said the PPP considered the people the main source of strength and those who did not respect them would face the consequences.

He paid tribute to Taj Mohammad Langa for the Seraiki province movement. Gilani vowed to continue the mission of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto despite all challenges. He added that the martyred PPP leaders laid down their lives for Pakistan and democracy. A lot of conspiracies had been hatched to eliminate the PPP but it always emerged as a most popular and strong political party, he said.

The prime Minister brushed aside the allegations of not respecting the institutions, saying how could a party, which gave the 1973 Constitution to the country and then restored it, would not respect the institutions.