Bilawal orders probe into Rs25m fund for Bhutto’s anniversary

Source: Published in Politics on Thursday, March 31, 2016

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Wednesday announced a public holiday on April 4 across the province to mark the death anniversary of former prime minister and founding chief of the Pakistan Peoples Party Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, said a notification.

“The government of Sindh is pleased to declare April 4, 2016 a public holiday throughout the province of Sindh on the occasion of the 37th death anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, ex-prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for all offices, autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, corporations and local union councils under the administrative control of the government of Sindh except essential services,” said the notification issued by the chief secretary.

Meanwhile, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari took “notice” of the Sindh government move to bear the expenses of the death anniversary of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to be held in Larkana allocating a hefty amount from the public exchequer.

“PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has taken strong notice of media reports that the Sindh government has released Rs25 million funds for the martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and asked the chief minister for an urgent inquiry into the matter,” said a statement issued by the party’s media cell at Bilawal House.

April 4 declared public holiday

“The PPP chairman has said that all the expenditures on Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s martyrdom anniversary are met by the party from its own funds and resources and not a single penny is being spent from any government funds. Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has asked the chief minister to find out as to how and to whom these funds were released and the purpose behind it.”

A government document dated March 28 emerged on the media saying that Rs25 million had been sanctioned for expenditures on the occasion of the death anniversary of the PPP’s founding father.

It said: “Pursuant to the approval accorded by the chief minister to a summary dated March 21, 2016, the finance department agrees to release an amount of Rs25 million for the expenditures to be incurred on the event of 37th death anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 4, 2016, and place the same at the disposal of the secretary (general administration) for further placement to the deputy commissioner, Larkana district.”

Though the PPP leaders earlier insisted that there was no such move from the Sindh government, the statement from party chairman asking the “chief minister for urgent inquiry into the matter” established negated their claims.

The statement from Bilawal House also announced the party’s central executive committee’s meeting on April 4 in Larkana to discuss the overall political situation.

“The central executive committee of the PPP shall meet on Monday, April 4, 2016 at 7pm at Naudero House after the public meeting on the 37th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” said the statement. “The meeting, to be presided over by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, would take into account the overall political situation in the country and also discuss other important matters being faced by the country.”

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