Imran asks for Karachi ‘transformation plan’ in a week

Published September 1, 2020
“The federal government is cognisant of the sufferings of the people of Karachi due to civic issues and will play its role in mitigating them,” the prime minister was quoted as saying. — Screengrab
“The federal government is cognisant of the sufferings of the people of Karachi due to civic issues and will play its role in mitigating them,” the prime minister was quoted as saying. — Screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed the relevant authorities to finalise the much-needed ‘Karachi Transformation Plan’ within a week to address major civic issues confronting the country’s commercial hub.

Presiding over a meeting at Prime Minister House, Mr Khan directed that the plan be finalised in consultation with all the stakeholders.

“The federal government is cognisant of the sufferings of the people of Karachi due to civic issues and will play its role in mitigating them,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in an official press release.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Maritime Minister Syed Ali Zaidi (through video link), National Disaster Management Authority chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal and other officials attended the meeting.

Wants all stakeholders taken on board, says govt cognisant of Karachi’s sufferings

Prime Minister Khan said the country’s progress and development was linked to the prosperity of the metropolis.

He was apprised of Karachi’s problems related to clean drinking water, sewerage system, solid waste management and transport, and was updated on the proposals that aimed to resolve the issues on a permanent basis.

A presentation on ‘Karachi Transformation Plan’, prepared by the planning ministry, was also shown during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Shibli Faraz, at a press conference on Monday, said the provincial information minister, Nasir Shah, had claimed that Karachi’s problems could be addressed if $10 billion was given to the Sindh government.

“First of all, we do not have the money. And, even if we did, we would not have given it to the Sindh government because the amount would have landed in the bank accounts of the province’s ruling party leaders,” the minister said.

He said PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira had claimed in a press conference that “Imran Khan and Pakistan cannot go together”.

“Yes, I agree Imran Khan and Pakistan before Aug 18, 2018, which was rejected by the people. Imran Khan is now representing a new Pakistan in which welfare of the poor is the basic object,” he added.

Mr Faraz said PPP had been ruling Sindh for over 12 years and had swallowed trillions of rupees earmarked for development and uplift projects.

Earlier, in his tweet, the minister said all resources were being utilised to deal with the emergency situation in Karachi without any political discrimination.

He said the federal government and its affiliated agencies were providing all possible assistance to the provincial government.

“Due to rains, the people of the ‘City of Quaid’ are passing through testing times and the entire nation’s sympathies were with them,” he added.

Joint session

During the press conference, Shibli Faraz hinted that the government intended to hold a joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly to get the legislation related to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) passed.

The opposition in the Senate had earlier opposed the legislation.

“Even if it is a joint session, we have to pass the bills which are a need of Pakistan; otherwise we can be blacklisted,” the minister said.

“We want to tell the people that we are compelled to have such legislations, but there are also some who are trying to protect certain individuals’ corruption by bulldozing the legislation,” he added.

The minister said the opposition wanted a concession similar to the National Reconciliation Ordinance for their “corrupt” leaders by “blackmailing” on FATF-related bills.

Prime Minister Khan also met a delegation of American Business Council.

He reiterated that removal of hurdles in the way of business was the topmost priority of the government.

He directed his advisers on finance and commerce to review the council’s recommendations so that those that were implementable could be adopted.

A cheque amounting to Rs17 million was also presented by the council for the PM’s Corona Relief Fund.

The council has already deposited Rs20 million in the fund Attachments area.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2020

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