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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Will PPP join PTI for Karachi’s development?

The federal government initially wanted to take over the administrative control of the city. However, the latest reports suggest that the incumbent government is ready to work with the Sindh government for the well-being of Karachi.

A coalition of three parties, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), has reportedly been formed for the development and well-being of Karachi. Sindh Information and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on Sunday welcomed the coalition. The minister in a statement said the three parties’ resolve to work together is good news for the public.

Shah expressed the optimism that the parties’ coalition will prove to be an important milestone in Karachi’s development, adding some people harbouring enmity towards the megacity may not like this union.

Sindh, Karachi in particular, saw record development under the leadership of PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the minister claiming, welcoming those who have played role in the city’s development. He lauded Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah for taking matchless steps for the development of the metropolis.

A meeting of PPP, PTI, and MQM-P leaders took place in Karachi on Saturday wherein they discussed issues plaguing the port city.

Sources claim that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Local Government and Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Education Minister Saeed Ghani, and Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar attended the meeting.

Read More: NDMA will clean Karachi; SC turns down Sindh government’s petition

Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi were also in attendance. The participants expressed concern over the city’s abysmal situation and agreed to work together for Karachi’s restoration to its former glory, economic progress, and resolution of all its problems.

Committee formed

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab confirmed on Sunday PPP, PTI, and MQM-P leaders formed a consultative committee to resolve Karachi’s issues.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, and Minister for Information Technology Ameenul Haq will represent the Centre, while Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, and Education Minister Saeed Ghani the provincial government with Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to head the committee.

Sindh government has failed, CJP

In the last week, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing the nullahs’ encroachment case, expressed anger at the dismal situation of cleanliness in Karachi, stating that the Sindh government has completely failed in the province.

Heading the bench, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad told the advocate general Sindh that the provincial government had “turned entire Karachi into a goth”. “The entire city is filled with filth and sewerage water,” said the chief justice angrily. “Mosquitoes, flies, and germs are everywhere. People are walking on stones [to cross sewerage water],” he added.

Read More: Army called in Karachi: Where is the Sindh government?

“How many years has it been since you have been in power?” asked the top judge.  “This is our commitment towards you,” responded the provincial government’s lawyer.  “Your commitment should be with the people. But what have you done with them?” retorted Justice Gulzar. “The situation is bad from Karachi to Kashmore. Wherever one goes, the situation is the same,” he added.

Does PTI want to resolve Karachi’s issues?

A few months ago, in a bid to save its alliance with MQM-P, the PTI-led government reportedly shared its working on 44 development projects with an estimated cost of Rs119 billion for Karachi to its coalition partner.

Sources at the PM Secretariat said that there were delays in the execution as some of the projects taken up by the Centre were problematic in nature. The projects included the Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) with a total revised cost of Rs 25.5 billion on a cost-sharing basis of 50:50 by the Centre and Sindh government. The planning commission identified major flaws in the project’s design and asked the province to accomplish the project within a stipulated time frame and cost.

The federal government had earmarked Rs 9.3 billion for this project a few years ago as part of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) but the allocated amount could not be utilized.

Read More: Imran Khan orders NDMA to fix rain ravaged Karachi

It is worth mentioning here that “it is unfortunate that Prime Minister came to Karachi and announced Rs162 billion for Karachi but we didn’t even get Rs1billion from that Rs162billion,” senior MQM-P leader Amir Khan had told media on November 16.

Army is cleaning Karachi?

The Pakistan Army teams have also kicked off the cleanliness campaign in Karachi to assist the civil administration in removing dirt and garbage from the city’s major storm-drains.

The army-run Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) personnel initiated cleaning operation at Gujjar Nullah in Nazimabad with over 50 dumpers, cranes, and other machinery to remove the garbage, which had choked the flow of water in the drain during recent monsoon rainfall and submerged adjacent area.

As electrocution deaths in Karachi are increasing, Sindh Rangers personnel have also been deployed at the site of the drain clearance work which is led by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The garbage from the sewerage drain being immediately transferred to the landfill site. The drain clearance work has also been started at ‘Cafe Piyala’, an area in the Federal B Area of the metropolis with heavy machinery and other equipment.

Read More: JIT Reports: PTI government afraid of going to Supreme Court?

After the 18th amendment, argue analyst, it was made sure that the provinces took charge of the local issues and address them accordingly. However, the Sindh government has apparently failed to devise any mechanism to deal with the crisis it faces every year during the monsoon season in Pakistan. Apart from rains, the garbage in the country’s largest city has always been a big challenge. But it remained largely unaddressed. The federal government is not doing what the Sindh government should have done long ago, argue political analysts.