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September 7, 2020

Politics begins on Karachi Package: Centre, Sindh kick off claims, counter-claims

Top Story

September 7, 2020

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Sunday said the federal government will bear 62 percent of the total amount of Rs1,100 billion announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan for the Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP), while the remaining 38pc will be spent by the Sindh government.

Addressing a joint news conference with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi and Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin-Ul-Haque at the Sindh Governor House, the federal minister said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in a meeting had agreed upon not revealing the share of both the governments.

However, he said unfortunately, a video clip of the PPP chairperson was making rounds in the social media in which the PPP chairperson was claiming that the Sindh government had major share in the KTP.

Asad Umar said the stakeholders also should keep all the political differences aside and work jointly for the success of the historic transformation plan. “The progress of Pakistan is linked with progress and development of Karachi, which is the economic hub of the country,” he said.

The federal minister highlighted that a major hurdle to the development of the city was lack of total authority. Asad Umar expressed the hope that the Sindh chiefminister would be allowed by his party leadership to work jointly with the federal government for the betterment of Karachi.

To a question, Asad replied that under the first phase of transformation plan, rain drains would be completely cleaned, while the provincial government had taken responsibility to rehabilitate the displaced people from the illegal encroachments.

Ali Haider Zaidi said the historic transformation plan announced by the prime minister for Karachi was good news for Karachiites and both the federal and provincial governments had agreed to prosecute the plan jointly. Syed Amin-Ul-Haque hailed the government for the announcement of plan. He said the plan was not a favor to Karachi but the right of the city. – APP

Our correspondent adds: Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar has refuted the claim of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that the Sindh government will contribute Rs800 billion to the total Rs1,100 billion Karachi Development Package unveiled by Prime Minister Imran Khan a day earlier, while stating that the federal government has 62 per cent share in the package.

Speaking at a press conference here at the Sindh Governor House on Sunday, the federal planning and development minister said that the statement of the PPP chairman informing about the share of the provincial government in the new Karachi Package was against the understanding earlier reached between the federal and Sindh governments prior to the package’s announcement by the PM.

He said that the representatives of the federal and Sindh governments had reached the understanding that all the stakeholders would work jointly for development of Karachi without going into the details as how much was being contributed by whom for this cause.

Earlier on Saturday while talking to media persons and addressing workers and general public as he visited the rain-affected Mauripur area of the city, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had stated: “It is a good sign that the federal government has allocated Rs300 billion while the Sindh government has contributed Rs800 billion and it is a good initiative for the development of Karachi.”

The federal minister appreciated that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who took part in the negotiations, had adhered to this commitment so far while hoping that leadership of his party would further let him work for Karachi while sticking to this understanding.

He said that the statement of the PPP chairman had compelled him to convene the press conference to set the record straight, so as to make clear that the federal government’s contribution to the newly-announced Karachi Package was 62 per cent while the rest 38 per cent would be provided by the Sindh government.

Had there been no such statement of the PPP chairman, no such information about the federal and Sindh government’s respective shares would have been divulged in accordance with the understanding reached in the negotiations, he said.

Asad Umar said the best aspect of the present understanding was that every state institution and all the governments in the country would now work together for the development of Karachi.

He said that every stakeholder had realised that Karachi, being the biggest source of revenue generation for the country, had to be made fully functional as without this Pakistan could not do progress as desired by everyone. The federal minister said the leadership of both the federal and Sindh governments were under an obligation to do their best for Karachi’s progress as people of the city deserved such a service. “For God’s sake, rise above the politics and work together for the development of Karachi. Political point-scorning and distortion of facts should not be done,” said the federal minister.

To a question, he conceded that the development role of the federal government had decreased after the adoption of the 18th Constitutional Amendment. To another question, the federal minister said that in the first phase of the implementation of the Karachi Package, encroachments on the land of drainage system would be removed and this work would be completed in 15 months. The Sindh government will be responsible for resettlement of people whose houses were illegally built on the drainage system of the city. He said that the Green Line section of Bus Rapid Transit System would be completed by June 2021, K-IV bulk water supply project would be completed by the end of 2022, while the Karachi Circular Railway project would be completed by the end of 2023.

Also speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haque, who belongs to the Muttahida Quami Movement, said that the local government system of Karachi and all such urban centres in the country should be strengthened in accordance with the Article 140-A of the Pakistan’s Constitution so that basic issues of the people could be resolved at their doorsteps.

He said it was wrong to state that the Karachi’s mayor (whose term ended a few days back) had failed; in fact, the Sindh Local Government Act-2013 had failed and it was time to rectify it.

He said that Karachi’s population should be properly counted as it had not been done so in the last census of the country in 2017, so that fiscal resources could be provided to the city adequately.