Centre-Sindh body for Karachi betterment holds first meeting

Published August 23, 2020
KARACHI: Residents of Yousuf Goth, one of the localities in the city worst affected by the downpour, on Saturday wade through a submerged road to reach a safe place. — Shakeel Adil / White Star
KARACHI: Residents of Yousuf Goth, one of the localities in the city worst affected by the downpour, on Saturday wade through a submerged road to reach a safe place. — Shakeel Adil / White Star

• Work to remove ‘soft’ encroachments from city’s drains to begin tomorrow
• Names of Taj Haider, Dr Noman and Asad Sayeed being considered by PPP for top Karachi post

KARACHI: The coordination committee comprising representatives of the federal and Sindh governments in its first formal meeting here on Saturday decided to remove ‘soft encroachments’ from Karachi’s major storm-water drains.

On Aug 19, leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan had decided to form a coordination committee for collaboration between the federal and Sindh governments in six areas for the betterment of Karachi.

Saturday’s meeting, held at the Chief Minister House in Karachi, was attended by CM Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers Saeed Ghani and Nasir Shah, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi and IT and Telecom Minister Aminul Haque.

“The committee mainly took up two major issues in today’s meeting,” Asad Umar told Dawn after the meeting. “First, it was decided that the Karachi commissioner and NDMA [National Disaster Management Authority] will jointly launch an operation to remove all soft encroachments from storm-water drains and make it clean.”

“Obviously, the term soft indicates that such encroachments are not human settlements,” he explained, adding: “In the second point we took up development projects for Karachi and in this regard it was decided that chairman of the Sindh planning and development board and Mathar Niaz Rana of planning and development at the centre would coordinate and sort out things on a fast track.”

When asked about the future of the committee and how long it would continue its work as a parallel body to look into the Karachi affairs along with elected city council and local government system, Mr Umar said the body was only to remove obstacles and fix anomalies which emerged between the centre and the province to keep the pace of Karachi development unaffected.

While Mr Umar maintained that it was a committee for coordination between the centre and the Sindh government on Karachi projects Sindh Information Minister Nasir Shah claimed in a statement that the meeting also discussed slow pace of work on the Jamshoro-Sehwan section of the Indus Highway and lining of KB Feeder.

“The meeting decided to accelerate work on Jamshoro-Sehwan section. It also decided to review the KB Feeder lining work,” Mr Shah said.

About Karachi, he said that the meeting discussed cleaning of storm-water drains and it was decided that the encroachment removal work would begin from Monday (tomorrow).

Three names for Karachi administrator

The PPP is considering names of a senior party leader, a renowned urban planner and a senior economist for the coveted post of Karachi administrator, who will replace Mayor Wasim Akhtar upon completion of his four-year tenure later this month.

The administrator will run the affairs of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) until fresh local government election.

Party and Sindh government sources confirmed on Saturday that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had shortlisted the names of seasoned politician Taj Haider, who is also a member of PPP’s core committee, renowned urban planner Prof Dr Noman Ahmed, who’s also the chairman of the architecture & planning department at the NED University of Engineering and Technology, and senior economist Asad Sayeed.

“The decision solely lies with the [PPP] chairman,” said a party source when asked who will get the prized post. “He’s seriously looking into the matter and considering each one’s skills and qualities. What I can confirm is that one of them will be appointed as the Karachi administrator. All three names are respectable and they all are true Karachiites. Whoever is chosen, he would do his best, we believe.”

On Friday, Mr Bhutto-Zardari chaired a meeting in which he decided that the next administrator would be a Karachi native.

The Friday meeting had recommended that it was not necessary that the city administrators, who would head the municipal agencies, should belong to bureaucracy as they could also be members of the civil society.

The meeting was held at the Bilawal House and attended by CM Shah, PPP-Sindh president Nisar Khuhro, former CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah, PPP-Karachi president Saeed Ghani and others.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2020

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