The people of Sindh were shocked to hear President Asif Zardari’s remarks while speaking at the 5th SAFMA conference in Islamabad, in which he has complained that nationalists were not ready to talk to the government on the new LG system in Sindh, as they were getting money from Punjab. President also claimed that controversial Zulfikarabad project is in favour of Sindh, whereas the nationalists do not want development in Sindh. I would like to mention that the government has claimed that the nationalists have no backing in Sindh, as they could not win even a single seat in the elections, if that is true then I fail to understand why the President is so worried about their protests? President Zardari’s claim that Punjab is financing such movements in Sindh seems like a far fetched idea.

The chief of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-F) and spiritual leader of Hurrs, Pir Pagara VIII is also staunchly opposed to the new LG system, so much so that he did not accept the President’s request for a meeting. Will the President clarify that Pir Pagara VIII is opposing the new LG system because he is also receiving allegedly finance from Punjab? For the information of the President, the people of Sindh as a whole are opposed to this system but the government is unsuccessfully trying to confine protests to nationalists as part of its efforts to reduce the gravity of the issue.

Regarding controversial project of Zulfikarabad in Sindh, President Zardari’s claim is totally misleading as calling ‘opponents of the project as opponent of development of Sindh,’ the simple reason this idea being unacceptable is that this project of the mega city is bound to bring demographic changes in Sindh and would increase fear of Sindh to convert Sindhis into a minority, on its completion. If the President really wanted to ameliorate the plight of cities and towns in Sindh, that had not been developed for the last six decades, he may abandon the controversial project and transfer the said amount to upgrade and develop many existing cities of Sindh.

President’s claim that at the time of the commissioning of the Pakistan Steel Mills, the protest demonstrations were staged against it was also objectionable. At that time, I was working in Shaheed Bhutto’s own daily at Karachi. In fact no one opposed the commissioning of the Mills, however, people were demanding fair compensation for their lands and to fulfill the promise of providing jobs to locals, but the two promises were never fulfilled. If President was so worried about the plight of the displaced persons of Pakistan Steel, he may help them now by providing good compensation and jobs in Pakistan Steel Mills as promised by the then Bhutto government.

The people of Sindh are now weary of the promises of PPP that have a history of vanishing into thin air, and on behalf of people of Sindh, I request President Zardari not to make new LG system an ego problem and withdraw the controversial bill by allowing amendments in the old bill through the House.

MOHAMMAD KHAN SIAL,

Karachi, October 22.