KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the recent increase in targeted killings in the city was due to stepped up “terrorist activities” by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London, but law enforcers were remaining vigilant as the Sindh government had “zero tolerance for terrorists”.
The chief minister was speaking at a press conference in the committee room of the old Sindh Assembly building on Monday to celebrate successful holding of eight PSL events in the metropolis.
In reply to a question, he said the solution to the urban transport problem lay in the Karachi Circular Railway. “We have got it approved as a CPEC project, but the federal government has almost abandoned the KCR from CPEC,” he said and added that the Sindh government was working on the Yellow Line, Orange Line and Red Line projects, whose progress would be visible next year.
Answering another question, he said work on the K-IV water supply project was started in 2016 by his government by relaxing the PPRA rules for its timely completion. “But, sorry to say, the federal government is not cooperating to share the financial burden,” he said, recalling that in his first meeting with the prime minister he had taken up the K-IV project to seek release of funds for it, but on the contrary a federal minister had said that there was no need for the K-IV project.
‘Progress on transport projects to be visible next year’
Regarding the water shortage, the chief minister said that short releases downstream Kotri had destroyed the delta and the sea had started intruding on around 80,000 acres of arable land. “We are not only facing short releases of funds from the divisible pool, but are faced with water shortage, which is destroying agro economy and playing havoc with sweet lands downstream Kotri,” he concluded.
Replying to a question on the Ghansham murder, he said on the request of his family the government had changed the investigation team. “We will not allow anybody anywhere in Sindh to take law into his own hands,” he said.
Restoration of ‘old’ Pakistan
Earlier at the start of the press conference the chief minister said the old Karachi, known for its peace and prosperity, had been revived by successful organising of the PSL events. And now, he said, the ‘old’ Pakistan had to be restored in which nobody could dare talk about oppressing the people.
Mr Shah said the provincial government was facing a shortfall of Rs120 billion in federal transfers. He deplored that in ‘new’ Pakistan, the Sindh Assembly speaker was arrested in Islamabad and then his family was made “hostage” for eight hours in Karachi. He said anti-corruption was a provincial subject, but the federal government had grabbed those powers under the garb of NAB.
NZ carnage condemned
He also told the newsmen that the tragic incident of New Zealand, where 50 persons were killed in two mosques, was quite painful. Of the 50 dead, nine belonged to Pakistan.
He said his party leadership, particularly Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, emphasised on the need for implementing the National Action Plan in letter and spirit.
Mr Shah said Pakistan had lost 70,000 innocent lives to terrorism and it was the biggest victim of terrorism, therefore NAP must be implemented.
Presiding over a meeting held to review progress of 170 ongoing development schemes of health department costing Rs13bn, the chief minister expressed his displeasure on utilisation ratio of the released funds and directed the health and works department to complete 17 important schemes by the second week of June 2019.
The schemes which have been taken up for completion include improvement of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for Rs422.7 million, establishment of a 50-bed medical and surgical ICU and expansion of casualty and OPD of the Liaquat University Hospital Hyderabad for Rs283.5m, construction of E&T/Eye and Fascia Maxillary Block at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Karachi for Rs334.178m.
Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019