Tuesday, September 29, 2020

What is the future of Karachi Transformation Plan?

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The Sindh government has released the notification of its implementation committee while making progress on the Karachi Transformation Plan. According to the notification, the implementation committee will be headed by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. Sindh chief secretary and representatives of the V Corps of Pakistan Army will also be the part of the committee.

The government also included the term of references (ToRs) of the provincial committee in the notification.

Moreover, other members of the implementation committee will include the administrator and commissioner of Karachi, representatives of the federal government, and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The committee will review the progress of the projects included in the Karachi transformation package announced by the federal government.

Sharing details of funds to be spent on Karachi uplift projects under the Karachi Transformation Plan, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar had said on September 7 that Rs46 billion have been allocated for Greater Karachi Water Supply scheme.

The planning minister had said that Rs300 billion have been allocated for Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), while Rs5 billion have been set aside for the Green Line BRT project under the Rs1.1trillion Karachi package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Read More: Who will answer for Karachi in the eternal court?

The government has allocated Rs131 billion for the Railways front corridor project, whereas Rs254 billion stormwater drains clearance projects would be completed under the Karachi Transformation Plan, said Umar.

How much the federal government will contribute?

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that the Sindh government would contribute Rs800 billion to the Rs1.1tr package for Karachi, saying that they “welcome the Rs300 billion funding from the federal government for Karachi’s infrastructure development”.

In a statement, Mr Wahab claimed that out of Rs1.1 trillion allocated for KTP, the centre would provide only Rs362 billion while the remaining amount would be spent by the Sindh government.

Read More: FIR registered against DHA Karachi residents for ‘terrorizing’ govt officials

The leader of the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government had given a “fake” development package to the metropolis. “The federal government has, in fact, given a lollypop to the people of Karachi,” he said during a press talk.

PTI sets the record straight

However, federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar of the PTI along with federal IT and Telecom Minister Aminul Haque of his party’s coalition partner MQM-Pakistan and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi held a press conference at Governor House where no PPP representative was present.

Mr Umar said he got messages from different people soon after the unveiling of Karachi package that the PPP had claimed that the Sindh government would bear the lion’s share.

“Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had in a meeting agreed not to reveal the share of both the governments (federal and provincial), he said.

The federal minister said it was necessary to set the record straight and claimed that the federal government would bear 62pc of the total amount of Rs1,100 billion announced by the prime minister for the Karachi Transformation Plan(KTP), while the remaining 38pc will be spent by the provincial government.

Karachi Transformation Plan: Will it be turned into reality?

Political analysts are of the view that although the PPP has been in power in the province for more than a decade now, yet it shies away from taking responsibility of the crises that occur in the metropolis. “The party cannot escape the lion’s share of the scorn coming from the people,” opines Fahd Husain, Dawn’s resident Editor.

Some analysts are of the view that the plan may not reach to its logical conclusion to resolve Karachi’s problems due to the city’s complex political structure. PPP is in power in Sindh. MQM-P apparently controls Karachi. PTI won a large number of seats from the city.

“The PTI, PPP and MQM are,” argues Fahd Husain, “not a love triangle”. He also opines that “expecting them to join hands is expecting almost too much”.

Fahd raised an important question: “Each has a significant vote bank in Karachi. This vote bank comes accompanied with vested interests of the political and commercial kind. Then there’s land. And turf. And property. A potent cocktail, if ever there was one. How will this trio — with many smaller stakeholders nipping at their heels — get difficult things done?”

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Keeping into view the complex nature of politics, Fahd Husain argues that: “Plans have never been a problem. In fact, we have had too many of these plans resting peacefully in dusty files. The issue here is how to turn them into reality.”

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