NAGARPARKAR - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday urged people of the desert region to vote for party candidates Qasim Siraj Soomro, Pir Noor Mohammad Shah Jilani and others for a better future.

Addressing a public gathering in Nagarparkar, the hilly town in the Tharparkar District, Bilawal said the PPP would change the fate of people of Thar. He said that his slain mother loved people of Thar so much that she named her daughter Bakhtawar after peasant leader Mai Bakhtawar. In return, he said, people of Thar named her Marvi of Malir (part of Thar region). He said that he visited various parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab despite threats and hurdles and got a huge response from the lovers of his grandfather, late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

The PPP chief said that he was not fond of getting power by hook or by crook; he was struggling for rights of people through political means. He said that late Bhutto had not only got over 90,000 soldiers freed from India but also retrieved parts of Thar that were occupied by India in the 1971 war. He said it was his mother’s dream to change Thar. He said that huge coal reserves in Thar would not only change the fate of Thar, but entire Pakistan.

The PPP chairman said the PPP had given a new manifesto, which contained important points to bring about a revolution in the country. He said the PPP would try to curb poverty firs of all after coming into power. He said the PPP would issue people food cards and launch a poverty reduction programme to provide food to people at subsided rates. Bilawal said the PPP government would set up food centres in every union council to deal with malnutrition and hunger during droughts. He said that construction of an airport near Islamkot was a great effort of the PPP government that would surely boost business and tourism in Thar. He lashed out at his opponents for opening doors of their parties for those who were involved in forced conversions in Sindh and making alliances with leaders of the banned outfits .

Bilawal said nobody would be allowed to amend the constitution and deprive the deserving women of stipend under the Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme (BISP). “Those conspiring to deprive women of their stipend will have to face stiff resistance from PPP members in the assemblies,” he said.

The PPP chairman warned that any move to tinker with constitutional clauses to deprive the poor women of stipend would be resisted. He asked people to reject such elements in the elections before they are elected to power and snatch morsel from the mouth of poor people of the country. He said that he would continue his efforts even after general elections. “We have a long way to go for bright future of the country,” he added.

“The PPP chairman said the PPP government carried out mega projects in the Thar Coalfield and made the dream of power generation from Thar coal reserves come true,” he said. He said that Tharis were not only provided free wheat but also clean drinking water through RO plants by the last Sindh government. He asked people to reject the new political alliance in Sindh, GDA, other alliances and political orphans.

Speaking on the occasion, PPP candidate in PS-55 Qasim Siraj Soomro said that GDA and PTI candidates would be handed a humiliating defeat in Thar. He said his opponents were humiliated by Tharis in the previous election in 2013. He said that opponents of the PPP in Thar were trying to fool people.

Addressing the gathering, Senator Krishna Kumari said the PPP would pay more attention to issues of Thar and Nagarparkar after coming into power.

In a related development, PPP leader from Chhachhro Ali Akbar Rahimoon, who had submitted his nomination papers as an independent candidate, announced retirement in favour of Soomro during the public gathering.

Pir Noor Mohammad Shah Jilani, Arbab Lutfullah, Rana Chandar Singh, Senator Gianchand, Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani, Fakeer Sher Mohammad Bilalani, Dr Khatu Mal Jeewan, Dost Mohammad Rahimoon, Veerjo Kolhi and others also spoke on the occasion.