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Shahbaz vows to turn Karachi into Asia’s most beautiful city

Updated June 27, 2018

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PML-N supporters attend a rally addressed by Shahbaz Sharif in Lyari on Tuesday.—White Star
PML-N supporters attend a rally addressed by Shahbaz Sharif in Lyari on Tuesday.—White Star

KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that regardless of which political party came to power, the PML-N would fully cooperate with the government at the Centre.

The former Punjab chief minister was in the provincial capital on a two-day visit, during which he met with party leaders, and delegations of religious minorities and businesswomen. He also addressed public meetings in Lyari and Quaidabad and visited various localities in the NA-249 constituency, where he will contest the election from.   

Read more: Murad Ali Shah rebukes Shahbaz Sharif for 'ignoring' Sindh during PML-N's tenure

Discussing the water crisis in the country, he said matters had taken a serious turn, which is why it was important to focus on building the Bhasha dam and other smaller dams, instead of getting embroiled in a debate over the Kalabagh dam.  

Says he is pained to see the current state of the metropolis

On the conditions in the metropolis, Mr Sharif said it was painful to see the situation in the port city, which was the hub of the nation’s economy. He said it was unfortunate that the city of lights was faced with an acute energy crisis, and despite a growing demand for electricity, Karachi Electric had shut down two power projects that were no longer operational.

“I am contesting from Karachi because it is the heart of Pakistan. Before we came to power, extortion rackets and targeted killings used to be the order of the day, but our government restored peace in Karachi. The Rangers and the police played an important role and the army and the nation faced the challenge with courage,” he said.

The city with a population of millions was polluted with solid waste, and had no viable public transport, he said, adding that these were important issues for common people. Karachi deserves at least 10 metro lines, he said, and vowed that if the PML-N was voted to power, it would build three mass transit lines in the city.

He regretted that the federal government had provided funds for the Green Line project, but it had not become operational because certain elements had vested interests. He said besides allocating more funds in the provincial budget for Karachi, he would also work on getting a separate allocation of funds for the metropolis in the federal budget.

He said that now that he had come to Karachi, he would return only after turning Karachi into another Lahore, and would not rest until the metropolis became the most beautiful city of Asia.

He said people could compare the development work carried out in the Punjab and Lahore with the situation in Sindh and Karachi.

The PML-N chief said that Bhasha dam was inevitable, but there was no consensus on the Kalabagh dam. He added that it was not an acceptable option, because it would come at the cost of the country’s unity. “We would bring resources for the Bhasha dam and also install more power projects, increase promotion of exports, because progress cannot be achieved without improving our balance of payments,” he said, adding that his government would promote trade through a one-window operation. “To get the green passport respected all over the world, we will have to break the begging bowl and compete with India’s economy.”

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018