KARACHI: The Pak Sarzameen Party and the Jamaat-i-Islami appear to be highly sceptical of the Rs1.1 trillion ambitious Karachi Transformation Plan announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the metropolis a day before, it emerged on Sunday.

Prime Minister Khan had announced that the federal and provincial governments would contribute to the total package and formed a provincial coordination and implementation committee with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah as its head.

In his reaction to the plan, PSP chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal said that unless reforms were carried out for the financial and administrative autonomy of Karachi on a permanent basis, no package and monetary aid would prove to be worthwhile and fruitful.

“Not to speak of Rs1,100 billion package, even Rs11,000 billion spending would not help resolve the lingering socio-economic and administrative issues of Karachi as Pakistan Peoples Party’s biased and corrupt Sindh government cannot be part of the solution, but rather the root cause of the plight of Karachi,” he said.

‘Giving lead role to corrupt and biased Sindh govt is tantamount to wasting resources’

He said despite being the economic and financial lifeline of Pakistan, Karachi lacked basic amenities due to constant and criminal negligence of the federal, provincial, as well as the local governments.

With each passing day, the socio-economic and administrative problems of Karachi became chronic while a sense of deprivation was deepening among its dwellers, he said, adding that if the issues of Karachi were not addressed adequately on a priority basis, the situation could be exploited by the enemies of Pakistan.

He said the PPP’s “biased and corrupt Sindh government” was directly responsible for the destruction of Karachi, as it had retained power and resources to itself instead of devolving them to the grassroots level.

“The announcement of a package of Rs1,100 billion by the federation by giving the Sindh government a lead role is tantamount to wasting resources,” he warned.

JI not optimistic

The Jamaat-i-Islami is also not very optimistic about the PM’s package for Karachi.

City JI chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman said that the prime minister should first tell the people of Karachi what had happened to his Rs162bn development package for the metropolis he announced around two years ago.

The JI leader was referring to the prime minister’s March 2019 announcement through which he unveiled a package of Rs162bn for development of Karachi. “Till to date no one knows how much money the city got from that package.”

Hafiz Naeem said that there was a dire need to providing relief to the rain-hit people and instead of announcing a package, all affected people should be given financial compensation so that they could stand on their feet.

The Karachi transformation plan is aimed at resolving the lingering and chronic issues of the metropolis and consisted of Rs92 billion water supply projects, Rs267bn solid waste management schemes, storm water drains cleaning and resettlement projects, Rs141bn sewage treatment plan, Rs41bn road projects and Rs572bn mass transit, rail and road transport projects.

MQM-P seeks similar packages for other cities

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan has welcomed the Rs1,100bn package and demanded that the federal and provincial governments give similar packages to Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah and Sukkur.

A meeting of the MQM-P coordination committee was held here on Sunday.

Party convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui chaired the meeting.

The meeting participants expressed the hope that the development projects announced under the PM’s package would be complete on time.

PTI asks parties to put politics aside

The parliamentary party leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in the Sindh Assembly, Haleem Adil Shaikh, urged all parties on Sunday to put politics aside on the Rs1,100bn uplift package for Karachi.

He said that the progress of Pakistan and Sindh were linked to the progress of Karachi.

He said it was a very difficult task to bring all stakeholders on the same page and appealed to parties not to create any hindrance.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2020