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October 17, 2020

Development of islands: Centre begins implementing ordinance, ignores Sindh’s opposition

National

October 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Setting aside the continual protest by the Sindh administration, the federal government is going ahead with the implementation of the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs (MOMA) has now called for an expression of interest for an economic and marketing study of the Bundal Island project from local and international consultancy consortiums.

The PIDA ordinance was quietly promulgated on Aug 31. As it became public knowledge more than a month later, the Sindh government and several sections in the province, including civil society and fishermen’s groups, environmentalists and lawyers, started strongly protesting against it.

A recent advertisement sponsored by MOMA said that PIDA has planned to develop Bundal Island located in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi on land measuring 8,000 acres, approximately 49 kilometers square.

It said PIDA intends to invite proposals from reputable local/international consultancy firms (single firm consortium joint ventures) having requisite technical expertise and experience for establishing an economic and marketing study and develop strategies for the Bundal island development project.

After the controversy over the development of the islands intensified, Prime Minister Imran Khan deputed Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to talk to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to sort out the points of contention.

However, the chief minister has refused to discuss the issue and has repeatedly urged the federal government to withdraw the presidential ordinance as it hurts the interests of his province.

The implementation of the PIDA ordinance by the federal government has made it clear that it has ignored Sindh’s protest and objections. Sindh recently withdrew a letter that it had written to the federal government about the promulgation of the ordinance. Of its initial 120-day life, the ordinance has so far exhausted 46 days. It would lapse after 120 days if it is not passed by parliament.