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HYDERABAD, Oct 24 (APP): The Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the world is acknowledging the successful measures which were adopted by the Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government to meet the challenge of COVID-19.

Referring to the acknowledging remarks of Bill Gates and Larry Summers, he said the entire world is recognizing the unprecedented measures taken by the Prime Minister Imran Khan to counter the effects of the pandemic.

However, he said that Coronavirus still exists in the country and there is the dire need to adopt all precautionary measures with compliance of standard operating procedure to avert this threat.

The recent carelessness has increased the cases of COVID-19 in the country, he said and informed that the government would initiate important decisions in next few days regarding strict compliance of SOPs against COVID-19.

Commenting about the 18th Amendment, the minister said that the province should have decision making authority, however there is the need of effective coordination between the centre and provinces.

The provinces had received enormous resources through NFC and now it is up to them whether they utilize those resources for uplift of masses or not, he added.

About the issues being raised by the representatives of traders and industrialists, the minister said that though resolving the bulk of the issues was in the domain of the provincial government all out efforts would be taken by the federal government to address the issues so that trade and industrial activities could gain momentum in the province.

The President Jamshoro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kanwar Ziaur Rehman, Vice President Association of Builders and Developers Muhammad Kashif, Chairman Hyderabad SITE Association of Trade and Industry Parvez Faheem Noorwala, Chairman Kotri SITE Association of Trade and Industry Adeel Siddiqui and President Hyderabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industry Saleemuddin Qureshi while speaking on the occasion apprised the minister about the problems being faced by the business community in Sindh.

Among others, PTI MNA Ghazala Saifi, Haq Parast Members National Assembly Salahuddin and Sabir Kaimkhani, PTI leaders and Members Sindh Assembly Syed Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Khuram Sher Zaman, Shahzad Qureshi, Dr. Samia Zia, Sidra Imran, Haq Parast Members Sindh Assembly Rashid Khilji, Nadeem Siddiqui and Nasir Qureshi were also present on the occasion.

Earlier in a brief chat with media persons at Circuit House Hyderabad, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has informed that the federal government has started two PSDP projects of Engineering Support Centre and I.T. Centre in Hyderabad so that the youth of Hyderabad could avail opportunity of higher education at their nearest.

The establishment of the Engineering Support Centre was in dire need of the motorbike industry and would help in providing the tools of the automobile industry, he said and added that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had promised to grant land for other federal government projects in Hyderabad however, the acquisition of land is still awaited.

The project will start immediately after grant of required land by the provincial government, he added.

Responding to a question about the arrest of Captain (Retd) Safdar, the minister said that sanctity of the Mazar of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was violated and besides the legal action of the Police, it was the responsibility of every Pakistani to condemn such act.

There is the need of handling the issue with adopting legal procedures instead of doing politics on it, he added.

Replying to another question, he said that due to the threat of COVID-19, the PTI and MQM have suspended the political activities, however after uprooting the pandemic, the PTI and MQM public meetings would expose the claims of the opposition.

About the development package for Karachi, the minister informed that WAPDA has taken responsibility for completion of K-4 Project while tenders have been floated for two projects of Pakistan Railways.

Similarly, the Green Line Project would start functioning in the month of June next year as order has been placed for purchase of buses for the project.

The NDMA will carry out the de-silting and removal of encroachments of storm water drains while Sindh government will provide compensation to affected people, he added.

In another question, the minister said that on special directives of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, the outstanding dues of the newspapers have been paid to newspaper owners therefore it is expected that they will ensure payment of salary in time to journalists and workers of their respective newspapers.