KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Tuesday that the province which contributes 70 per cent of Pakistan’s revenue was being given a pittance compared to the schemes offered to other provinces.

This he said while speaking at a press conference here at CM House. He was accompanied by his senior adviser Nisar Khuhro.

The chief minister said that the National Economic Council was a 13-member constitutional body that had eight members from the provinces and five from the federal government, including the prime minister as its chairman.

Talking about the functions of the NEC, the CM said that it included review of the overall economic situation of the country and advised the federal and the provincial governments to formulate plans in respect of financial, commercial, social and economic policies, adding that the NEC had to ensure balanced development and regional equity.

Pledges not to allow federal govt to get money to be recovered from Bahria Town

“Ever since the PTI government has come into power [in the centre], it has been treating Sindh with abject bias and discrimination,” said Murad Ali Shah, adding that in 2017-18 there were 27 schemes in the PSDP with an allocation of Rs27.38 billion.

He said that in 2018-19 the number of schemes was reduced to 22 with an allocation of Rs14.26bn and in 2019-20 again the schemes were reduced to 13 with an allocation of Rs8.5bn.

The chief minister said that in 2020-21 the number of schemes dropped to six [schemes] with an allocation of Rs8.3bn, adding that in 2021-22 only six schemes were proposed with an allocation of Rs5bn.

NHA portfolio

Talking about National Highway Authority (NHA) schemes, the chief minister pointed out a glaring injustice to the people of Sindh.

He said that it had launched 22 schemes for Punjab with an estimated cost of Rs824.55bn against which an allocation of Rs32.151bn had been proposed for 2021-22. “Whereas, the NHA has only two schemes of Rs46.79bn for Sindh against which Rs7.1bn has been proposed for 2021-22,” he added.

Mr Shah said that the difference between the number of schemes given to Sindh as opposed to the other provinces was quite painful.

The chief minister said that the finance division executed its schemes through respective provincial governments. “For the next financial year, 2021-22, the finance division has given 14 schemes of Rs86.6bn to Punjab against which Rs15.06bn allocation has been proposed for 2021-22,” he added.

Murad Ali Shah said the Sindh government had been given only two schemes of Rs4.8bn with a proposed allocation of Rs1.51bn for 2021-22.

He said that the planning division had no system or staff to execute projects. “In Sindh, they have been given a large allocation to execute projects through Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited,” he said and added that last year those projects were shown under the cabinet division.

Murad Ali Shah said that the Water Resource Division had allocated Rs26.6bn for K-IV but he expressed his apprehension that the federal government would not spend the allocated amount, as a result people of Karachi would suffer further.

Replying to a question about filing a case of discrimination against the federal government in court, Murad Ali Shah said that he had not consulted his legal team. “But we won’t go to court,” he said and added that the people of the province would “punish” the PTI by rejecting them in the next election.

Bahria Town issue

Answering a question, the chief minister said that the Supreme Court had regularised Bahria Town as it had Banigala. “I am surprised that the federal government has filed a claim on the money being recovered from Bahria Town, but we would never allow that,” he said.

Replying to a question about the destruction caused by suspected miscreants at Bahria Town, Mr Shah said that some parties had planned to stage a peaceful protest against Bahria Town for its “expansion” or encroachment on private lands.

He said that provincial minister Syed Nasir Shah had negotiated with the protesting parties and had got their assurance that the protest would be peaceful and flow of traffic on the Motorway would not disturbed.

The chief minister said that the protest, as promised, was peaceful but some miscreants managed to enter Bahria Town and started ransacking and set the entrance and other parts of the scheme on fire.

“We are conducting an inquiry as to how the miscreants managed to enter the premises and started ransacking,” he said and added the inquiry would also determine the facilitators who got them inside Bahria Town and allowed them to take the law into their own hands.

Mr Shah also said that the police had obtained complete footage of the incident and through the footage it would be determined which chemical was used to put the structures on fire and who had given them the chemical, he said.

The CM told the media that 11 FIRs had been registered against the outlaws.

He recalled that a month back some people had started encroachments on private lands located along Bahria Town. “We have also registered cases against them,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2021

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