Sindh to share Rs749.9bn in PM’s Rs1.1tr Karachi uplift plan, says Wahab

Updated 09 Sep 2020


Murtaza Wahab speaks to the media on Tuesday.—PPI
Murtaza Wahab speaks to the media on Tuesday.—PPI

KARACHI: The prospects of smooth execution of the Rs1.1 trillion Karachi package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan look highly grim as the debate between the centre and the province over their contribution continued on Tuesday with the Sindh government claiming that the federal government would spend a “meagre” sum of Rs33 billion per annum while remaining funds would be invested through public-private partnership.

“The Sindh government is actually contributing Rs749.9bn in Karachi development package while the centre’s share is only Rs362.9bn,” Chief Minister’s Law Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab told a press conference here at the Committee Room of the Sindh Assembly.

“The federal government will spend Rs33bn per year and rest of the money will be invested through public-private partnership. I am not levelling allegations against the centre but want to clarify things which got confused after the federal ministers’ press conference,” he said, referring to Sunday’s presser of federal ministers Asad Umar, Ali Zaidi and Aminul Haque.

Terming the package a ‘fraud’, JI announces Karachi rights movement from 27th

The federal ministers had claimed that Islamabad was contributing more than 60 per cent of the total Rs1.1tr Karachi development package.

Barrister Wahab, who is also the spokesperson for the Sindh government, said that the provincial government wanted to develop Karachi as a liveable, competitive and modern city of the world and for that it extended full cooperation to the federal government.

Claims term KTP never mentioned in meetings

“In the meetings between the two sides [federal and provincial governments], the term, Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP), was not mentioned at all,” he said.

He explained in detail the claim of the Sindh government of sharing 60pc of the total funds announced by the PM for Karachi’s development.

“Revival of the Karachi Circular Railway is a flagship project of the Sindh government, which was included in the CPEC framework in December 2016 in the Sixth Joint Coordination Committee meeting held in Beijing on the request of the Sindh chief minister,” he said.

“The PC-I of KCR was approved by Ecnec in October 2017 at a total cost of $1.971bn, which make Rs207.6bn. Moreover, in the transport and mass transit department, the Sindh government was declared as the sponsoring as well as the executing agency for the approved project. The project has been stalled due to a lack of interest of the federal government to fulfil its responsibilities towards the project,” he said.

Barrister Wahab said that the Sindh government had repeatedly asked Islamabad to lend its support for the project and the chief minister had written several letters in this regard.

The support needed from the federal government was provision of a sovereign guarantee as was done for the Lahore Orange Train project, transfer of Karachi Urban Transport Corporation to the government of Sindh, right of way for the project and facilitation with regards to CPEC issues. The federal government in December 2016 agreed to provide this support, he added.

Similarly, he said, it was accentuated that part of the Bahria Town Settlement Funds, which is around Rs125bn, were expected to be available during the three-year period in lieu of the land of the Sindh government. “Therefore, this contribution is deemed to be the contribution of the government of Sindh rather than the federal government’s,” added Barrister Wahab.

JI to launch Karachi rights movement

The Jamaat-i-Islami continued to show its serious reservations over the PM’s Karachi development package and announced on Tuesday that it would launch a “Karachi rights movement” with a “massive” power show on Sept 27.

Addressing a press conference at the party’s Idara Noor-i-Haq headquarters, city JI chief Hafiz Naeemur Rahman called the recently announced package a “fraud” and termed ruling parties both at the centre and in the province incompetent and corrupt.

He vowed to mobilise people of Karachi for fresh local government elections.

“We simply demand that let the people decide through free, fair and transparent elections who they want to run the affairs of this city,” he said. “We want an authorised elected City Council, which enjoys all powers and authority for the city’s affairs. We reject the current Sindh Local Government Act and want effective legislation which empowers people to solve their problems.”

He said the JI was well aware that the “feudal” mindset of the PPP would not allow any devolution of power and for that his party would mobilise people of Karachi under a movement for the city’s rights.

He said the JI would hold a huge march on Sept 27 on Shahrah-i-Quaideen.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2020