Centre trying to sabotage Sindh’s public welfare initiatives: Bilawal
Says labour class worst hit by economic fallout of Covid-19 pandemic
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Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chaired a high-level consultative meeting of the party leadership through video link on Thursday.
The situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic and economic issues facing the country came under discussion at the meeting, which was attended by PPP leaders Sherry Rehman, Syed Naveed Qamar, Shazia Marri, Nafeesa Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chaudhry Manzoor, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Faisal Kareem Kundi, Palwasha Khan, Murad Ali Shah and Azra Fazal Pechuho.
Speaking on the occasion, Bilawal said that federal government’s opposition to the steps taken by the Sindh government was unfortunate. He said that provinces must be given their share of the relief funds received from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and G20 countries. He said that provinces should be given benefit of the massive cut in the oil prices in the international market. He said the federal government was trying to sabotage the Sindh government’s public welfare initiatives instead of doing something for the poor.
In his message on the International Labour Day, he said the labour class, particularly daily wage earners, have been affected by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the global coronavirus pandemic has exposed fatal flaws in the neo-liberal economic policies, laying bare the anti-labour policies of governments that serve a few at the cost of many.
He said it was the responsibility of federal governments to ensure speedy provision of relief to the poor and daily wage earners during the deadly pandemic. Sadly, he said, they have been left at the mercy of profiteers or subjected to layoffs. He said the state has abandoned its responsibilities and shrugged of its duty to protect rights of the labour and the working classes.
The PPP chairman said this situation was a matter of concern for every conscientious Pakistani. At a time when lives of our fellow citizens are in danger and their future is uncertain, conspiracies are being hatched to privatise the selected state units and deprive the provinces of their constitutional powers and funds, he said.
Bilawal said that people's government in Sindh banned firing of employees during the lockdown through legislation and provided ration to hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers and their families on their doorstep. He said the federal government must provide financial assistance to unemployed workers on the basis of the minimum wage set by the government until it’s is safe for Pakistan to end the lockdown and send people back to work without risking their lives and wellbeing.
The PPP chairman said it was the workers who were the backbone of the economy and society, and reiterated his commitment to the founding principles of the PPP. He said his party would build an economy by protecting the labour class, not by allowing their exploitation.
“It was the PPP, which formulated the first labour policy in the country and recognised the value of the labour of workers. And it was the PPP, which ensured employees are made partners in growth and wealth they generated by enacting the Benazir Stock Option Scheme. And the PPP will always struggle to end exploitation of workers across Pakistan regardless of their gender, caste or creed,” Bilawal added.