Sindh minister denies formation of committee after tri-party meeting to resolve Karachi’s issues

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KARACHI: Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said Sunday there had been “no decision” to form a committee under the provincial chief minister, following a tri-party meeting held to resolve the metropolis’ issues.

The meeting in question was held a day earlier, with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Governor Imran Ismail, information minister Shah, provincial education minister Saeed Ghani, the federal ministers for planning & development and maritime affairs, Asad Umar and Ali Haider Zaidi, respectively, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairperson Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal in attendance.

The information minister said that during the meeting between the Sindh chief minister and Umar, only the bottlenecks to carry out development works and their solutions were discussed.

“As far as the formation of a committee for execution of uplift works is concerned, no such decision was taken in the meeting,” he said.

Apart from the provincial agencies, various bodies under the federal government — such as cantonments, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) were operating in Karachi. Therefore, various bottlenecks emerged when any scheme or development project was initiated, he said.

Karachi’s development ‘responsibility of provincial govt’

Shah added that that was the reason why the chief minister and concerned cabinet members held a meeting with the federal minister and his team was to work out the ways and means to remove the bottlenecks.

Some other issues, such as removal of sludge from storms water drains, sludge dumping at landfill sites, removal of encroachment from the nullahs, and the completion of the schemes that were earlier “left incomplete” were also discussed, he added.

The minister categorically denied the constitution of any committee to carry out development works in Karachi. “Development of the city is the responsibility of the provincial government, which it is doing its best for,” he said.

Wahab warns PTI against irresponsible comments

On the other hand, the spokesperson for the government of Sindh, Senator Murtaza Wahab, said the impression that a committee would undertake all of the work was wrong since whatever work was planned would be done by the Sindh government.

Speaking in Geo News programme Naya Pakistan, Wahab said the Sindh and federal governments had however decided that the development work in Karachi would be done in the best possible manner.

“If the federal government wants to work in Sindh, it will consult the provincial government,” he said. “No government can deviate from the Constitution.”

Noting that all stakeholders agreed that Karachi is the highest-revenue-producing city, he vowed that the provincial government would try its best to ensure its federal counterpart made true on its promises.

The Sindh government spokesperson noted that in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI had abolished the local government system. Sindh, however, was the only province that has the system intact with the tenure set to expire on August 30.

“The PTI government also sent the Islamabad mayor packing,” he remarked.

Wahab said the Sindh government had released Rs67 billion to local bodies.

However, he observed that the ruling PTI’s leaders had continuously issued irresponsible statements and warned that they should refrain from doing so.

Speaking of the Green Line project, he said it was started by the federal government. “In 2018, [Prime Minister] Imran Khan had announced in Karachi that his government would complete the Green Line project,” he said.

‘PTI will use whatever option necessary’

Separately, the ruling PTI’s MPA from Sindh, Khurrum Sher Zaman, also spoke about the issues of Karachi and the discussions between the major parties from the city.

Taking a harder line, he said the PPP had been given another chance for the development of Karachi. “This is the last option for the PPP; then the Centre will use its options,” he warned.

Noting that all parties must work together for Karachi’s development, he said the advisory committee’s formation was in the interest of Karachiites.

“The Sindh government still has one chance to change the situation in Karachi. If it fails, the PTI will use whatever option necessary for the interest of the people,” Zaman added.

He remarked that the people of Karachi have endured delays for many years whether it was related to the cleaning of the nullahs or repairing roads.

“We hope that the committee members will make the best decisions in favor of Karachi,” the PTI leader added.

PPP, PTI, MQM-P meet to resolve Karachi’s issues

A day prior, Karachi’s three major political parties — the PPP, PTI, and the MQM-P — met to discuss its issues in two separate meetings held here in the city and in Islamabad and it was decided that the federal government and Centre will join hands to address the issues.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, as well as provincial ministers Saeed Ghani and Nasir Shah, represented the government of Sindh. Governor Imran Ismail, federal ministers Asad Umar and Ali Haider Zaidi, as well as Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar were in attendance as well.

Sources had earlier informed Geo News that it was decided advisory and liaison committees must be formed to solve the metropolis’ problems.

Discussions revolved around the NDMA’s role in the development of Karachi. It was decided that members of the Centre and government of Sindh would form an advisory committee to resolve the southern port city’s issues.

In a video statement following the meeting, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairperson Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal was in the meeting as well.

He said the meeting, which was held for the betterment of the province, focused on resolving issues related to development work.

The Sindh government is working for the betterment of Karachi and the entire province, the information minister added.

Anyone wanting to help develop Karachi ‘welcome’

Shah welcomed the meeting between members of the PTI, PPP, and the MQM-P as a step in the right direction for the betterment of Karachiites. The collaboration between the three parties “will prove to be an important milestone”, he said.

He added that Sindh — especially Karachi — was developed tremendously under the leadership of PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. “The Sindh government will welcome every person or political party that wants to play a part in developing Karachi,” he said.

Referring to the recent monsoon spell that wreaked havoc in the metropolis, the provincial minister said the government of Sindh had welcomed the Centre and the NDMA in its efforts to clear Karachi’s nullahs.

“Steps taken by the Sindh chief minister for Karachi cannot be forgotten,” he added.

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