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Kamal casts doubts on Rs162bn uplift plan

Updated April 01, 2019

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Kamal says Bagh Ibne Qasim was actually inaugurated in 2007 when he was the mayor of Karachi.— Reuters/File
Kamal says Bagh Ibne Qasim was actually inaugurated in 2007 when he was the mayor of Karachi.— Reuters/File

KARACHI: A day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a Rs162 billion development package for Karachi, Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal cast doubts over it, saying Karachiites would not get even a single penny from it.

Speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters, known as Pakistan House, Mr Kamal also said that PM Khan inaugurated Bagh Ibne Qasim again without knowing that it was actually inaugurated in 2007 when he was the mayor of Karachi.

He also rejected the PM announcement that Karachi needed high-rise buildings and a master plan, saying the provincial metropolis already had a master plan in which a specific zone was reserved for skyscrapers.

About the Rs162bn development package, he said that after the 18th Amendment cities got funds from the Centre via provincial governments, but in Sindh the PM and the chief ministers were at odds with each other and even the latter was not welcoming the PM during his visit to the province.

He said if the federal government were sincere with Karachi, it would have released funds for the K-IV water supply project, taken immediate steps for the revival of Karachi Circular Railway and resolved the long-standing issue of people living in Martin Quarters, Clayton Quarters and other such areas.

Says Bagh Ibne Qasim was actually inaugurated in 2007 when he was the mayor of Karachi

“Any package for Karachi would be of no use without counting the missing seven million people of Karachi,” he said, referring to what many parties believed a flawed population census.

He said that the PM announced a university in Hyderabad but no one knew whether any land had been allocated for it.

He said the Green Line project would take at least a year to become functional.

Criticising the PTI government for having “failed on economic front”, he said that gas and electricity tariffs had been increased by 143 per cent and 30pc, respectively, while inflation soared to 8.2pc from 3.2pc.

He challenged the finance minister to make budget for a family of four in Rs10,000.

‘PM misled by PTI lawmakers from Karachi’

He said PM Khan during his first visit to Karachi announced that the biggest issue of the city was to give identity cards to Bengalis and Afghans and now he thought making high-rises and a new master plan was the solution to all problems of the country’s commercial capital.

The PSP chief said that the PM did not know that high-rise buildings could not be constructed all across the city and Karachi already got its master plan in which a separate zone was reserved for high-rises.

He said it appeared that the PM was misled by his own team as a majority of the PTI lawmakers from Karachi were builders.

He said that the National Accountability Bureau was investigating the Bagh Ibne Qasim issue and it appeared that the PM was invited there for its inauguration to influence that inquiry.

He said the park was first inaugurated in 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf after he as the Karachi mayor constructed it with a cost of Rs600 million. This time, the Bagh Ibne Qasim was reconstructed with a whopping amount of Rs1.3 billion, he added. He asked the PM to order a probe that who was responsible for ruining this park.

Mr Kamal said that all hopes of a change in Sindh had dashed as the Sindh government was not taking any step for the development of urban areas.

PSP president Anis Kaimkhani and other senior leaders were also present.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2019