Dismissing any misconception regarding the proposed Zulfiqarabad city in Thatta, President Asif Ali Zardari categorically said that “nobody will displace people from this land as this is the land of people of Sindh”.
The president invited the antagonists to give a true picture and also to tell what the government was doing to save this land from the sea intrusion. He said that the Zulfikarabad project would reclaim sea-intruded land in Thatta district, provide job opportunities to locals and usher in an era of development to enhance the people’s lifestyle.
He said that some people had expressed reservations because of inadequate information about the project and added that the proposed project in the name of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a futuristic project which would transform the area into an economic hub creating jobs for the locals and would be having all the facilities of a modern city.
The president was talking to legislators, office-bearers, and workers of the PPP, Thatta district, and office-bearers of the Thatta Press Club at Bilawal House. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah and Information Minister Sharjeel Memon were also present on the occasion.
He said government had sufficient land for Zulfikarabad project and land would also be reclaimed from the sea. About 90 percent of the land is uninhabited and only 10 percent was inhabited. However, the inhabitants would be paid reasonable compensation if their land is required for the project, he added.
President Zardari said that roads would be constructed and drinking water facilities provided in Thatta districts under the aegis of the Zulfikarabad project. Two small sea ports will also be developed in the area, he noted.
He said locals will be preferred for jobs in Zulfikarabad and youth will be provided technical training to fill the vacancies. He said such project was vital not only for taking care of the growing population but also to create more jobs for the educated youth.
The Chairman, Zulfikarabad Development Authority (ZDA), Lt-Gen (Retd) Iftikhar Hussain, during his presentation said that Zulfikarabad would be developed as special economic zone along the pattern of Shenzhen special economic zone in China.
He said 1.3 million acres of land had been allocated to this project of which 376,000 acres of land had been acquired while 957,000 acres would be reclaimed from the sea. Chairman ZDA said that the proposed city had the potential of becoming the largest manufacturing centre of Pakistan. He said the project will stop sea intrusion, save mangroves, develop fisheries sector and generate power through wind, solar and tidal wave energy.
He said that the Chinese company would develop the project.
He said sea is consuming 18 acres of land daily and the ZDA would construct a 100 feet high and 60 feet wide dyke to protect this area from the sea.