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September 2, 2020

PM to visit Karachi on Friday, announce package, projects

Top Story

September 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will announce a major package for solution to Karachi’s problems on Friday, as the federal cabinet deliberated on key national matters, including extraordinary spells of rain in the country with focus on the mega city.

Briefing the media following the meeting, presided over by prime minister here, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said the PM made mention of Karachi before the start of cabinet proceedings and also gave directions in regard to the prevailing situation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

“At the moment, prime minister’s concern and attention is on Karachi city. The federal government is doing what it can and will continue doing so, as Karachi has a unique importance, though all cities have their importance, for it is the economic hub of Pakistan,” the minister said.

He said that the PM had been closely watching theKarachi issues, which remained unresolved, might because the government was not serious or was not capable of handling them and that resulted in eruption of major crises; be it sewerage, clean drinking water or filth or transport.

The minister said that there were problems of tanker mafia, sewerage, solid waste management and transport in Karachi for which a special programme had been formulated by the federation. “Such a mechanism has been devised because the Sindh government is there and we respect it and without their cooperation, the programme cannot be completed,” he said.

He noted that a strategy has been formulated for implementation of the projects, which also includes responsibility and it will not be possible unless there is ownership. He added that the PM was going to Karachi on Friday, the federation was providing resources for the package in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the project would be launched with the Sindh government on-board.

He said the PM would formally announce the project in Karachi on the same day. The PM, he pointed out, had a very clear intervention and the objective was to find permanent solution to the issues and provide relief to Karachiites.

He said that a mechanism had been evolved while acknowledging the mandate of the Sindh government, involving the NDMA. He said that the prime minister directed Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Dr Sania Nishtar to start the second phase of the Ehsaas programme for the first phase had a significant economic impact and helped alleviate sufferings of people amid the coronavirus while the economy was again looking positive and all indicators were also positive.

Unlike, India and many European countries, where the economies had gone upside down with negative growth, Pakistan, by the blessings of Allah Almighty, had been far better. Replying to questions, the minister insisted that Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Asim Saleem Bajwa would clear his position regarding a report within two, three days and said that a person was innocent until proven guilty.

To this, one reporter asked that on the basis of an audio, KP Information Minister Ajmal Wazir was sacked, Shibli said, “We say, there should be no comparison of apples with oranges; apples should be compared with apples and oranges with oranges”.

He also denied any censorship with regard to Asim Bajwa and said that he watched TV for some time and noticed reports in this connection. “Everyone should have the opportunity to explain his position and there should be no exceptions. One should also be careful in issuing reports and making analysis lest one may have to be cutting a sorry figure. He will explain, as he is a responsible person and his future will be in accordance with that,” he said.

To another question, he asserted that the enemies were totally opposed to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and would never miss any opportunity to work against it, being a project of well-being and prosperity. He noted that no controversy arose during any government tenure and that what was happening in the Middle East had nothing to do with the project. “Every country is sovereign and privileged to take its own decisions. CPEC is our project and we shall safeguard it at any cost,” he noted.

In reply to a question, the minister said the court had also said now Nawaz Sharif would have to return come what may and surrender first then apply for bail. “Such person must be awarded sentence three times more. Nawaz will have to appear before the law and reply questions,” he asserted. He added that people should reflect on the fact that a three-time elected prime minister considered himself above the law, whereas the law did not spare a cycle thief while top rulers in France, Korea and France remained in jail.

On finding split and ongoing tug-of-war in the party, Shibli said that Nawaz uploaded his pictures in restaurants, going for a walk and shopping to show that he was quite well. He said the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) believed its leadership was above the law.

He said though the government had no resources, it decided to bear the burden of Rs17 billion and not upward revise the oil prices. The cabinet allowed production of industrial hemp for manufacturing of medicines in a specific area. The cabinet was also briefed on the wheat situation and that the price of sugar was decreasing.

The PM ordered for early completion of consultation on recommendations of the committee he had formed, with the attorney general on provision of relief to the jailed females. The forum also approved amendment to the related law to bind all the public representatives, including senators, to take oath of their office within 60 days. The meeting was told that in the past, 500 inductions were made in the ASF without following the rules while 299 other appointments were made, of which 55 were still working in their respective positions. The matter was referred to the panel on institutional reforms.

Agencies add: The information minister said the opposition should clarify its stance regarding Financial Action Task Force (FATF) whether it is with Indian narrative or Pakistan’s. He said the federal government had also proposed names for the appointment of Karachi administrator, adding that the authority to appoint the Karachi administrator rests with the Sindh government, adding that he could not tell the names premature. He said the matter should not be made disputed.

Shibli said he had not read the book of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and he could respond to question about it after reading the book. He said CPEC was project of Pakistan’s prosperity, adding that the PML-N should not term it its project as China started the project directly with the state of Pakistan.

The minister said the prime minister had issued instructions to the Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and PM’s Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Sania Nishtar to begin the second phase of Ehsaas Programme to help the poor.