PM announces Rs1.1 trillion package for Karachi
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday unveiled a “historic” financial package worth Rs1.1 trillion for Karachi’s transformation that he said will address the chronic municipal and infrastructure issues of the country’s financial hub.
The city’s drainage and sewerage issues were brought into national focus last month after record-breaking monsoon rains caused widespread devastation and left dozens dead.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi alongside Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Governor Imran Ismail, the premier said the federal and Sindh governments had decided to deal with Karachi’s problems “together” following negotiations.
Noting that floods caused by heavy rains have hit not only Karachi but Balochistan, interior Sindh, Swat, and his own constituency of Mianwali, Imran said it was decided in view of unprecedented rains that all of Karachi’s issues would be tackled at once, and negotiations were subsequently held.
“I would have come [to Karachi] sooner but we had to make a structure,” he said, revealing that the transformation plan would be implemented through the Provincial Coordination Implementation Committee (PCIC) under the chief minister.
He said all stakeholders will be involved in its implementation. “The army will play a big role,” he added, noting that the army helps the civilian administration whenever there are floods or a calamity.
Prime Minister Imran arrived in Karachi earlier today for a day-long visit to announce the financial package for the implementation of a transformation plan meant to address the city’s issues and developmental requirements, according to Radio Pakistan.
The premier is accompanied by Information Minister Shibli Faraz and MNA Amir Mahmood Kayani.
During his visit, the premier met Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Chief Minister Shah. He was also expected to meet members of the provincial assembly as well as businessmen, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
He was also briefed about the recent situation in Karachi after the rains.
The prime minister addressed the press conference after chairing a meeting of the “Karachi committee”.
Federal ministers Asad Umar, Shibli Faraz, Syed Ali Zaidi, Aminul Haq, the Sindh governor, the Sindh chief minister and others were present for the meeting.
In a tweet a day earlier, PTI leader Faisal Javed Khan said the Karachi Transformation Plan was aimed at addressing the provincial capital’s long-standing problems such as “choked drainage and sewerage systems, encroachments, poor waste disposal, water supply and transport”.
Meanwhile, the information minister said the prime minster is determined to “restore Karachi’s identity as a true industrial hub” of the country and the backbone of its economy.
“The people of the city cannot be left at the mercy of the Sindh government which has destroyed Karachi over the past 12 years,” Faraz said in a tweet hours before the premier’s arrival.
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar added that the premier will announce the “biggest development package” in the country’s history for any city during his visit.
“This historic work will be carried out by the federal and provincial governments. Politics will not stand in the way of development and the people’s welfare. Similar work will also be carried out in other parts of Sindh.”
On August 27, the premier had said his government would “not abandon” the city’s people “in their time of crisis”.
PM Imran had made the statement after a record-breaking monsoon spell wreaked havoc in the city, causing waterlogging and disrupting power in several areas for multiple days, in addition to claiming at least 20 lives.
The premier had said that the federal government was “fully cognisant” of the devastation brought about by the rainfall.
“We will be announcing a plan for a permanent solution to the problems caused by floods by cleaning of nullahs, fixing of the sewage system and resolving the huge challenge of water supply to the people of Karachi,” he had announced in a series of tweets.
Karachi Transformation Plan reviewed
PM Imran had reviewed the Karachi Transformation Plan on Thursday, officials said.
According to the Prime Minister Office, PM Imran said the biggest problems in Karachi’s civic matters was a lack of transfer of administrative powers to the gross-root level.
“It is the need of the hour to shift control on water supply schemes, sewerage treatment and disposal, solid waste management and the building control authority from the provincial government to the city administrator or local government to address these problems in Karachi,” the prime was quoted as saying.
Unfortunately, nobody had thought about the problems being faced by the people of Karachi in the past, he said.
The prime minister added that recent torrential rains in Karachi had not only exposed the pathetic administrative system but also created a number of problems for the people of the city.