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September 9, 2020

Murtaza Wahab insists Sindh govt has Rs800 bn share in new development package for Karachi

National

September 9, 2020

KARACHI: Sindh Law and Environment Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab has once more reiterated the stance of his party that the provincial government will contribute up to Rs800 billion in the Rs1,100 billion massive development package for Karachi’s newly unveiled by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Earlier, such a claim was made by Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Federal Planning and Development Minister, however, refuted the claim of the PPP chairman while stating that the federal government accounted for 62 per cent funding of Rs 1,100 billion package while the rest 32 per cent finances will be arranged by the Sindh government.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Barrister Wahab, who also acts as the spokesman for the Sindh government, said that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had already mentioned that his government had been spending Rs802 billion for development of the city.

The Sindh law adviser said the provincial government had been spending out of its own annual budget and had also arranged funding from the international donor agencies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for development of Karachi.

He said the federal authorities had been erroneously counting the Karachi Circular Railways among the federally-funded development projects of the city. The fact, however, is that the KCR became a part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor on the request of the Sindh CM in 2016, he said. He recalled that the CM had written four letters to the federal government while the Sindh Assembly had also passed a resolution for the early completion of the KCR. He said the Sindh government had much hard work to materialize the KCR no matter the federal government now claims ownership of the project.

Barrister Wahab said that the work on the Red Line section of Bus Rapid Transit Service in Karachi would start in the next three to four months.Similarly, construction of Malir Expressway will begin in the next three to four weeks. He said the Sindh government in the current year would spend Rs7.8 billion for development of Karachi.

The Sindh government spokesman said that opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement had been unduly doing politics on the basis of ethnicity by pointing out that the administrators being appointed in Karachi (in place of the mayor and DMC chairmen) were not natives of the city. He mentioned that newly-posted Karachi’s Commissioner Sohail Rajput was an Urdu speaking civil servant.

He said that physical encroachments on the storm water drains of the city would be demolished without any discrimination. He said that houses built on the land of storm water drains in the city got inundated after heavy rains and also caused obstruction in the drainage of the rainwater.

The provincial law adviser said that newly-posted Karachi’s administrator Iftikhar Ali Shallwani was a good public servant as he hoped that he (the city’s administrator) would steer the affairs of Karachi in a better way.

He said that drainage work after heavy monsoon rains in the city had been completed in most parts while in some localities the situation had worsened again due to the faulty sewerage system. “This faulty system is because of the neglect of past 40 years and this could not be rectified overnight,” he said. He said the Sindh government had joined hands with the Centre while forgetting the acrimonious past. He recalled that the Sindh government had earlier in February 2019 welcomed the PM’s announcement of Rs162 billion development package for Karachi but the federal government didn’t honour its commitment regarding that package.

He appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit the calamity-hit areas of Sindh and also take practical steps for the people in distress there. He said that the Sindh CM had already written a letter to the PM for seeking emergency assistance of the federal government for rescue and relief of the disaster-hit masses in Sindh.