Pakistan’s Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Friday announced the allotment of 9,000 acres of forest land to Pakistan Army to be distributed among the spouse/children of those who had either died fighting for their country or war-wounded military personnel.
A Dawn news report said that an application of Pakistan Army was received by the Sindh government for allotment of 35,521 acres forest land in Garhi Yasin, District Shikarpur in 2001.
Ali said, “Since the request has been made for the rehabilitation of the slain army personnel’s families and war-wounded military personnel, therefore this request must be honoured. Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had personally asked for the allotment of the land.”
Meanwhile in India, ex-servicemen continue to be on hunger strike over their demand for ‘One Rank One Pension.’
Their hunger strike has now entered its fifth day and the protesting soldiers are considering seeking help from the opposition parties.
Earlier on Friday the Janta Dal-United and Congress both reached out to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen with the offer of help, but this was ‘politely turned down’ as the group consider itself as apolitical.
However, they are now having a serious rethink on their stand. UFESM told news agency PTI, “In view of the continued intransigence of the present government and its repeated failures to honour assurances given by the highest in authority, a view towards taking help from opposition parties will be actively considered.”
Prime Minister, in his first rally after being projected BJP’s PM candidate on September 15, 2013, had told a huge rally of ex-servicemen in Haryana’s Rewari that he would implement their demands over OROP if he was elected as the PM.
Modi, in his hour-long speech had said, ” Who stops our former soldiers to live with honour and self respect, and their genuine demands getting fulfilled? We have been hearing about one rank, one pension since many years, what is the problem..? Today I publicly demand from the Government of India on behalf of the army men and ex-service men of this country, to publish a white paper on the status of ‘one rank, one pension’ scheme. And Friends, I am sure that if in 2004, Vajpayee Ji would have formed government, then today this problem of one rank one pension would not have been complicated..!”
Critics describe the Modi government’s inability to implement this poll promise as yet another ‘U-Turn.’
Leading the attack was Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who told a rally in Kolkata last week, “Before the elections, Modi ji went to Haryana, Punjab, and said OROP will be done immediately when they will come to power.
“It has been one year now. The soldiers are crying and threatening to launch an agitation. They are asking the government to disclose as to when the OROP would be implemented…Modi ji says I am busy doing yoga, ask me later.”
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries if the soldiers’ demand for OROP is met.