Sindh’s chief minister on Monday said that the “Old Karachi” that was known for peace and prosperity has been revived by the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) success and now the “Old Pakistan” where nobody can dare talk about oppressing the people has to be restored.
CM Syed Murad Ali Shah said this while addressing a news conference in the committee room of the old building of the provincial assembly. Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani and information adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab were also present on the occasion.
Shah said that in the Old Pakistan, ministers used to talk about the people and their problems, but in the “New Pakistan” they [the federal ministers] use unethical language and say they will hear the people scream because they know how to suppress the masses.
“Under your [the federal government’s] rule the people are shouting against unprecedented price hikes, crying against unemployment and screaming against NAB [the National Accountability Bureau].”
He said the Sindh government is facing a shortfall of Rs120 billion in federal transfers and the people of the province are protesting because work on their development projects has come to a standstill for want of funds. “Therefore, the people of this country need the Old Pakistan.”
The chief executive said that in the New Pakistan, the PA speaker was arrested from Islamabad and his family was held hostage for eight hours in Karachi. “When you had no evidence against the speaker, why did you arrest him?”
He said that anti-corruption is actually a provincial subject, but the federal administration has grabbed these powers under the garb of NAB. “It is unfortunate that the past federal governments of the PPP and the PML-N failed to undo the NAB law during their respective tenures.”
NZ terror attack
Shah said that the tragic New Zealand incident in which around 50 Muslims were martyred in two mosques is quite painful. Nine of them belonged to Pakistan, three of whom were from Karachi, he added. “Today I went to their homes and offered my condolences to their families,” he said, adding that he was satisfied that the spirit of the aggrieved families was high.
The CM said his government had started the work on the K-IV Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply Scheme in 2016 and awarded the contract to the Frontier Works Organisation by relaxing the Sindh PPRA [Public Procurement Regulatory Authority] Rules so that the project could be completed on time.
“But the federal government has not been cooperating with us to share the financial burden,” he said, adding that a federal minister had said that there was no need of the K-IV project. Shah said that in his first meeting with the prime minister he had taken up the K-IV project issue and requested him to release the required funds, but nothing had been done yet.
The cost increased manifold because there were faults in its design, he added. “We have offered the federal government to conduct third-party audit and validation of the project, but at least contribute 50 per cent of its cost so that the project can be completed for the provision of water to Karachi.”
The chief executive said that the solution to the urban transport problem lay in the Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project. “We got it approved as part of CPEC, but the Centre showed lukewarm attitude in 2016 and then approved it, but the present government has almost abandoned it.” He said his government is working on the Yellow Line, Orange Line and Red Line projects and there will be commendable progress on them in the next financial year.
Shah said that insufficient release of water to downstream Kotri has destroyed the delta and that the sea has started intruding on around 80,000 acres of sweet land of Sindh. “We are not only facing short release of funds from the divisible pool but are also faced with water shortage, which is destroying the agro-economy and playing havoc with the sweet land downstream Kotri.”
About Tharparkar’s Ghansham murder case, the CM said that it initially turned out to be an incident of personal enmity, but the government is trying to get justice for his family. He said the family had requested that the investigation team be changed, so the government had changed it. “We will not allow anybody anywhere in Sindh to take the law into their own hands.”