Imran wants MQM taken on board over Rs1.1tr Karachi plan

Published December 9, 2020
PM Imran Khan addresses a press conference in Karachi alongside Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Planning Minister Asad Umar and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. — Photo courtesy PM Imran's Instagram/File
PM Imran Khan addresses a press conference in Karachi alongside Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Planning Minister Asad Umar and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. — Photo courtesy PM Imran's Instagram/File

ISLAMABAD: The Rs1.1 trillion Karachi Transforma­tion Plan (KTP) remained at the centre of discussion during the federal cabinet mee­ting on Tuesday as Prime Minister Imran Khan direc­ted the relevant authorities to keep Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on board while taking decisions on the plan.

The meeting, which was presided over by PM Khan, also decided to contact Isla­m­ic states with regard to future relations with France in the context of blasphemo­us caricatures. However, the cabinet approved the imp­ort of a vaccine and oil used in veterinary feed from France.

The meeting also allowed Rs2,500 monthly allowance to MPhil degree holders in the armed forces which is already being provided to their civilian counterparts.

The KTP issue was raised by MQM leader and Min­ister for Information Techn­o­logy Syed Aminul Haq who had placed the matter be­fore the last cabinet meeting as well and had said the plan was proceeding at a snail’s pace.

The plan was announced by the prime minister a few months ago after unprecedented monsoon flooding in Karachi.

“I raised the issue again as MQM was not invited in two recent meetings held on the issue,” Mr Amin told Dawn when contacted after the meeting.

He said PM Khan had assured the MQM last week that the party would be taken on board on KTP and called a meeting last Thursday. However, the party was not invited in the meeting and another held in Karachi a couple of days ago.

“On our complaint the prime minister urged the authorities concerned to keep MQM abreast with the decisions regarding KTP,” he added.

Mr Amin said the prime minister was also apprised of the killing of an MQM worker who had been subjected to forced disappearance four years ago and his body was found on the outskirts of Karachi three days ago.

“The prime minister directed Interior Minister Ijaz Shah to take up the issue, and the minister called me for a meeting today (Wednesday),” the minister said.

Ties with France

On the issue of relations with France in the backdrop of blasphemous caricatures and controversial remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron, the cabinet decided to follow the orders of the Islamabad High Court and hold consultations with Muslim countries to decide whether to sever ties with Paris or not.

Prime Minister Khan tasked Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi with contacting the Islamic states to decide on a future strategy regarding France.

However, the cabinet, on Punjab government’s demand, gave a go-ahead to import 37,605kg of montanide oil from France as well as raw material used in veterinary feed manufacturing.

Mr Khan expressed his concern over the rising coronavirus cases and death toll. “The prime minister was quite concerned with the spread of the virus as the second wave is proving more dangerous than the first one,” said Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz at a press conference that mostly revolved around the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement.

Sialkot development package

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, who also spoke at the press conference along with Senator Faraz, said Prime Minister Khan was visiting Sialkot today (Wednesday) where he would announce Rs17 billion development package for the industrial city.

He said the premier would also inaugurate Air Sial, the country’s first business community private airline. The airline is being launched with an investment of over Rs4bn, he added.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2020

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