Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced a Rs162 billion development package for Karachi, which includes grants for 18 projects, which will be focused on priority areas like transportation and water provision.
The premier, who is on an official trip to Karachi, made the announcement during a meeting of the Karachi Transformation Committee, chaired by him.
He said that out of the 18 proposed projects, 10 are related to the development of the public transport network in the city. Seven other projects are related to the water and sewerage infrastructure.
He laid particular emphasis on the importance of water conservation in Karachi. He regretted that no plan to preserve water had been formulated by previous governments and urged the committee to start a campaign to conserve the resource.
The premier also said that while a master plan for Karachi was essential, an interim plan for the city should be put in place to address the pressing challenges that the metropolis is facing. He promised that he will cooperate with provincial authorities in every way to ensure the development of Karachi, which, he said, was vital for the progress of the country.
He also said that further horizontal expansion of the city must be stopped and the slum areas of the city should be developed.
Prime Minister Khan announced that a university will be built in Hyderabad and reverse osmosis plants will be installed in areas of Tharparkar. Earlier this month, the premier had announced a health package for Sindh, under which as many as 112,000 families will get Insaf Health Cards.
Later in the day, the prime minister inaugurated Bagh Ibne Qasim, where he stressed the importance of planting trees and "saving the green areas" in Karachi.
He regretted that Karachi had become a "concrete slab", and said the government will allow the construction of more high-rise buildings in the city in order to prevent them from expanding and taking over land that can be used to plant trees.
The premier pointed out that Pakistan was among the top 10 countries that were most vulnerable to climate change.
"Our coming generations will never forgive us if we don't save our green areas," he warned.
The premier also commended Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar for "building and preserving" the Ibne Qasim park.
Yesterday, the prime minister had visited Quetta, where he performed the groundbreaking of the new Balochistan Health Complex. He also visited Gwadar, where he laid the foundation stone for a new international airport and addressed the closing ceremony of an expo taking place in the city.
Gwadar International Airport will have the latest equipment and facilities and is expected to be one of the country’s largest airports.
He arrived in Karachi on Friday night and was received by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail.
He had met with the leadership of the government's coalition partner, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and promised to address their concerns regarding the development of Karachi.