Murad, Asad Umar strike conciliatory tone, vow to work together for city

Published January 17, 2021
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Planning Minister Asad Umar address a press conference in Karachi on Saturday. — Photo courtesy: Sindh CM House Twitter
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Planning Minister Asad Umar address a press conference in Karachi on Saturday. — Photo courtesy: Sindh CM House Twitter
A meeting of the Karachi Coordination Committee under way on Saturday at CM House. — APP
A meeting of the Karachi Coordination Committee under way on Saturday at CM House. — APP

KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday said that with coordinated efforts, the provincial and federal governments had started different projects in the city, including remodelling of major storm-water drains, water, drainage, road and transport sectors.

“In the larger interest of Karachi, setting aside all our political differences, we, all the stakeholders [the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan] sit together and chalk out plans to develop the city to make it one of the beautiful and liveable cities of the world,” he said.

This he said while addressing a joint press conference with federal ministers Asad Umar and Aminul Haq. Provincial ministers Saeed Ghani and Nasir Shah and Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab were also present.

The CM said that the federal and provincial governments had committed to undertake projects including K-IV, sewerage treatment, road network, Malir Expressway, Green Line, Yellow Line, Orange Line and the Karachi Circular Railway.

“Since there were three executing agencies — the Sindh government, the federal and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation; therefore, we all have joined hands so that these projects can be completed on a priority basis and in time,” he said.

The CM thanked the federal government, the KMC, army authorities, National Disaster Management Authority and FWO and also thanked the Supreme Court for pushing and guiding all the stakeholders to expedite the development works.

Planning minister hints at availability of Covid-19 vaccine in Pakistan by March

No politics on city uplift

Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar said that the people of Karachi looked towards their elected representatives. “Therefore, brushing aside our political differences, we have joined hands for the development of this city,” he said.

He added that the NDMA had engaged FWO and they had mobilised their machinery and work had started.

Mr Umar said that the success story of our coordinated efforts was the start of work on the ground. “It is a good start and time is very short because in July and August Karachi receives rains, therefore we have to complete the remodelling work of nullahs by the start of July,” he said

“I want to reiterate that we have various other things for doing politics but as far as uplift of the city is concerned we have to work together which is important for all the concerned political parties,” he added.

Federal IT Minister Aminul Haq told the media that the development works being started in the city were worth Rs1.1 trillion.

Mr Haq said that the amount for the development package of Karachi was not enough but “something is better than nothing”.

He called for strengthening the local governments and said actually it was their job to clean the nullahs, provide water supply schemes and construct connecting roads.

Covid vaccine to be available in March

Replying to a question, Mr Umar said that Covid-19 vaccine would be made available in the country by March.

To another question, he said that as far as the complaint of the Sindh government about the shortfall in the share of the National Finance Commission Award was concerned, it had its own arguments and the federal government spoke something else.

To a question, the chief minister said that the model of Mehmoodabad nullah in terms of its structure, removal of encroachments and development of drainage system would be replicated in the development of Gujjar nullah.

The chief minister, replying to another question, said that his government had reservations on the census which he had taken up at the concerned forum, which is the Council of Common Interests.

“We want the federal government to redress the grievances of the people of the province,” he said.

To the same question, Mr Umar said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh had reservations on the census but it [census] was not carried out by the PTI government.

“I remember very well that whenever a census is conducted the provincial governments, one or the other, has raised objections,” he said.

Talking about twin islands of Karachi, Mr Umar said that the federal and provincial governments had different opinions on the issue and it was debatable.

“The [island] ordinance has expired and we want the provincial government and the federal government to sit together to find a mutual way out to start development,” he added.

Mr Umar vowed that the KCR project would be started very soon and it would be completed much before the ML-1 project.

He said that the Green Line project would be completed soon and procurement of buses had already been ordered.

He said that the Mauripur-Manghopir road would be also completed shortly. “We have purchased fire tenders for the city,” he said.

Issue of JPMC, NICH, NICVD

Replying to a question about the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and National Institute of Child Health, the federal minister said that their administrative control had been taken over by the federal government through a notification as per Supreme Court’s orders.

He said that there was a way out under which these hospitals could be returned to the provincial government by filing a reference in the apex court.

Earlier, talking about Mehmoodabad nullah, the chief minister said that it had been undertaken as a pilot project.

“We have worked hard to save maximum houses constructed along the embankments of the nullah,” he said.

He appreciated the public support and even the cooperation of the affected people in removing the encroachments.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2021

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