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Zilhajj 25, 1437 A.H.
September 28, 2016

18 schemes under Rs10bln Package for development of Karachi to be completed within 6 months: CM

KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the Rs10 billion package announced for the Development of Karachi will be fully utilized on 18 development schemes which will be completed within the next 4 to 6 months. Exchanging views during his visit to Karachi Chamber on Wednesday, Chief Minister added that the Planning and Development Department has already approved these schemes while the contractors will be shortlisted by October 2016 and the development work will be completed in the next six months which may result in causing temporary problems but these schemes, upon completion, will surely provide huge relief to the citizens. Sindh Minister for Industries Manzoor Hussain Wassan, Sindh Minister for Local Governments Jam Khan Shoro, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Farooki & Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, Senior Vice President Zia Ahmed Khan, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Naeem Sharif, Incoming President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo and KCCI Managing Committee members along with Former Presidents and government officials were also present on the occasion. In response to Siraj Teli’s concerns expressed over the configuration of protocol being followed by Federal and Sindh government which was introduced during Musharraf’s regime and stays enforced to date, Chief Minister Sindh opined that this needs to be changed at both levels whereas he has no protocol issues and was ready to sit anywhere during the meetings with representatives of Karachi Chamber being held either at KCCI or at CM House. Referring to concerns expressed by Karachi Chamber over the unjust distribution of gas resources of Sindh province, he assured to take up this issue with the federal government in Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting which was already due and the Prime Minister will be requested to hold the same at the earliest.

In response to KCCI’s suggestions, Murad Ali Shah agreed to formulate two committees with Karachi Chamber’s representation, of which one committee will be notified for revision of obsolete labor, Excise and taxation laws whereas the other committee will look into resolving the issues being faced by indenters after the imposition of 14 percent services sales tax by SRB. He also expressed deep concern over the inattentiveness of Federal government towards the issues of Karachi which can be gauged from Federal Finance Minister’s failure to visit Karachi Chamber during the last three years despite the fact that the Karachi Chamber was the most vibrant chamber as compared to any other Chamber of Pakistan. “Unfortunately, the Federal government did not took steps which it should have taken in the interest of Karachi”, he added. Seeking business community support, he further announced that Sindh government was now planning to initiate a campaign in which all shopkeepers, restaurants and markets will be strictly directed to follow punctuality by opening their businesses early morning and shutting them down in between 6PM to 7PM except weekends.

Earlier, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, while appreciating the changes introduced by the new Chief Minister, urged Murad Ali Shah to take corrective steps from the very beginning by dealing with the issues emerging due to protocol system which was implemented during Musharraf’s era but it has not be reversed to date. The protocol system needs to be revised and should be implemented on government functions only whereas the protocol officers should not intervene in Chamber’s events, he advised, adding that if possible, the blue book must also be revised. Referring to a recent meeting with Sindh Minister for Industries Manzoor Wassan during his visit to Site Association, Siraj Teli pointed out that during the said meeting, numerous industry-related issues pertaining to water, electricity, gas and infrastructure development etc. were raised and it was advised that Manzoor Wassan, as Industries Minister, should call meetings which must be attended by other relevant Ministers, Secretaries and representatives of business & industrial community in order to look for solution to civic and infrastructure issues. The situation has resulted in closure of many industrial units and intensified the hardship for existing industries in Karachi. He asked the Chief Minister to advise all relevant ministries and secretaries to sit together with business community with a view to speedily resolve issues. Seeking Chief Minister’s attention towards gas issue, Siraj Teli said that this issue remains unresolved to date as gas pressure is reduced anytime which multiplies the problems for industries. He requested the Chief Minister to take up this issue at the CCI meeting and other platforms. The business community will fully support Sindh government’s struggle for the rights of the province, he added.

He further mentioned that Sindh produces 69 percent of total gas and requires 27 percent gas but, unfortunately, it was not being provided and the limited gas being provided was available with very low pressure, particularly in Site industrial area. Chairman BMG, while welcoming the cleanliness campaign undertaken by Sindh government, extended full support of Karachi Chamber in order to make this campaign successful. “We are ready to carry out cleanliness campaign with Sindh government on the streets of Karachi so that the image of this city could be transformed”, he added. In order to build the positive image of Karachi, Sindh government has to look into the issue of constant traffic jams also which continues to worsen due to lack of control. “If traffic police officers can efficiently control traffic in case of VIP movement within 10 minutes then why not, they ensure smooth flow of traffic in normal circumstances”, he said, adding that the worsening traffic situation was only due to carelessness of traffic police officers, followed by bribery, violation of traffic rules, and driving on streets of Karachi without driving license which require Sindh government’s attention. Commenting on improved law and order situation, Siraj Teli appreciated the efforts made by Sindh Government, Rangers and police towards restoring peace in Karachi but he feared that the improved law and order situation may not last long due to poor performance of police department. He was of the view that there was a need to build capacity of police department and this capacity must be built in such a manner that the police department performs much better as compared to Rangers which was the only way forward towards ensuring sustainable peace in all parts of Karachi.

Furthermore, the police department must be equipped with latest weapons and provided proper training otherwise the efforts made during the past three years under Karachi Operation will be wasted, he added. Touching upon the achievements of Karachi Chamber, he said that the Businessmen Group has been winning KCCI election since last nineteen years as they worked tirelessly to serve the entire business community through honestly which also helped in saving a sum of Rs500 million. These funds were utilized for purchase of a huge plot situated in the posh locality of Clifton where KCCI’s grand building will be established. “The plot was officially purchased by declaring the actual value of the plot and after paying all the taxes and duties from KCCI own financial resources”, he added. Earlier President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, while welcoming the Chief Minister, urged the Sindh government to resolve issues emerging after the implementation of Services Sales Tax on indenting commission. He said that a committee with Karachi Chamber’s representation should be formed in order to provide some relief to the perturbed traders. He also expressed deep concern over gas shortages and low gas pressure along with water and electricity shortages being suffered by industrial units which have resulted closure of many industries, besides raising the cost of doing business for existing industrial units which were finding it almost impossible to stay afloat. Younus Bashir further stated that there was a dire need to build the infrastructure of Karachi city which was in bad shape, resulting in plunging this city way behind and triggering a sense of deprivation amongst industrialists and citizens when they look at the massive development work in other cities of Pakistan.