The President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi stated in an interview with Dr. Moeed Pirzada in the program ‘Hard-talk’ yesterday that the authority responsible for the Islands off the coast of Karachi was the Port Qasim Authority.
Bilawal Bhutto had in a tweet compared the federal government’s development programs on the Buddo and Bundal islands with the Indian government and its illegal annexation of Kashmir.
The Sindh government had on Tuesday asked the federal government to withdraw the ordinance passed by President Alvi whereby development on two islands off the coast of Karachi could be started.
New Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA)
Through the ordinance, the President had created Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA). The authority is according to the ordinance to work as a land-owning ‘local government.’
The president said that he had a meeting with the law minister before passing the ordinance. One of his concerns he said were the Mangrove environment along the coast. He said that he had been accused of being negligent on the issue.
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He said that the KPT previously had encroachment on the Mangrove forests, and had to be removed by order of the Supreme Court. He explained that before passing the ordinance, he had been assured that the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) approves all projects within Pakistan regardless of legislation.
Moving onto allegations that the federal government was annexing provincial land, he explained that although according to Article 170-1 in the constitution, all land that had no legal owner found within the premises of a province belonged to the provincial government. The islands however were part of the Port Qasim Authority.
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Port Qasim Authority itself is part of the Federal authority and Maritime Affairs. Maritime Affairs has control of all ports, including Gwadar and Karachi’s port. The authority has the legal right to use the land in development and no one else can perform any contracts or development without the Port Qasim authority’s permission. The president said that there is no mention of the Sindh Government in the document concerning ports.
Talking about the misuse of land with Dr. Moeed, the president showed a map of the extent of the Port Qasim Authority, the land that is under federal ownership, and mentioned a ‘creek.’ 300 Acres of the creek, actually part of the Port Qasim Authority, currently under sea-water.
“This is called the DHA creek, the PPP’s Agha Tariq allotted 342 acres of the land in this creek, 30 feet underwater, to his wife in 1994 for mining. In 1996 the Sindh Board of Revenue transferred that mining allotment to ‘housing,’ ‘industrialization,’ and ‘commercialization.’ This land was then sold to ‘Marina City.’ Marina City had three partners, Muhammad, Mehsud, and the third partner was their ‘servant.’ Now this is in the court. This is one example of the kind of ‘injustices’ that have been done with the land of Sindh,” said the President.
“I met with all the developers, industrialists, of Karachi. I did not meet three industrialists specifically. I am not a capitalist myself, I cannot encourage phony capitalists,” President Alvi.
“In the 2013 election, Zahra Shahid our colleague was murdered.” The president explained that Karachi was a difficult place to work as a political worker in. According to the constitution that the city of Karachi is very much a part of the provincial government. The Federal government has provided ample budget for some main issues of the city to be resolved. It is up to all stakeholders now to put the projects to implementation.
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Law and order have improved significantly said the president in the city. He explained that ‘governance’ also needs money to develop. All the development projects including the two islands. Thousands of flats can be made on these islands. This will help in attracting foreign investments, something to show to the world. The Prime Minister is very interested in the issue and the economy is becoming an export-oriented economy and a vibrant port is imperative for that, according to the President.
Gwadar is very important in regional transport, said the president. He said that Turkmenistan is keen to develop a gas pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan on last week signed documents to promote the implementation of joint infrastructure projects, according to Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
The top officials of the two states in the Presidential Palace Salam Khan signed documents concerning the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) electric and fiber-optic communication line, as well as the construction of railways.
The signing ceremony was attended by the Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, members of the government, heads, and representatives of the relevant ministries and departments of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, the ministry statement said.
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The president continued saying that regional stability and connectivity could be established through Afghanistan. He said that the Tapi pipeline was a keen interest in Turkmenistan. Even though Pakistan has the largest gas pipeline system in the world we need more gas.
The peace in Afghanistan and all of these projects are being ‘spoiled’ by India. India he said ‘is feverishly shaking her hips to attract US attention.’ It wants to create a bloc with Japan, Australia, and the United States in countenance to China, the president continued.
Pakistan the president said was vying to become a Geo-economic hub. In order to counter these spoilers by India.
GVS News Desk