Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said it will be “too difficult” for his party to remain part of the federal government if the Centre does not fulfil its promises of providing much-need relief to flood victims in Sindh province.
These reservations were expressed by the PPP chairman in his address after inaugurating “Subsidy Programme: Reimbursement for Wheat Seed” on Sunday, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Under the programme, Bhutto-Zardari, whose party rules in Sindh province, transferred Rs 8.39 billion from the provincial budget to the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for disbursement of Rs 5,000 per acre to each small grower holding up to 12 acres of agricultural land.
Since Rs 13.5 billion is needed to provide relief to the flood-hit farmers through the subsidy programme, it was decided that the federal government would give Rs 4.7 billion grant and the remaining Rs 8.39 billion would be borne by the Sindh government, he explained, reminding the Pakistan Democratic Movement or PDM-led government in the Centre of its promise.
“We [will] take up this issue in the National Assembly,” he said, adding that he would also speak to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to fulfil the promises made to the flood victims, otherwise it would be very difficult for the PPP to be part of the federal government.
The catastrophic 2022 floods, which left a third of Pakistan submerged and killed more than 1,200 persons, had an adverse impact on the economy, with a loss of more than USD 30 billion.
Bhutto-Zardari also objected to the manner the digital census exercise was being conducted, saying it was unacceptable that elections in one province took place based on a different census, and other provincial polls were held based on a “flawed” digital census.
The PPP with 58 lawmakers, is a key part of the current coalition government and it may not be possible for Prime Minister Sharif to continue to rule without the party’s support.