Centre’s share in Karachi package Rs 611b, efforts to mislead masses not to succeed: Shibli

Senator Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting addressing a press conference in Islamabad on September 7, 2020.

ISLAMABAD, Sep 07 (APP):Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Monday said Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced the Karachi Transformation Plan sincerely but the Sindh chief minister created confusion about it, however the efforts to mislead the masses would not succeed.

The Sindh government, he said, claimed that only Rs 300 billion was being given by the Federal Government and the rest was being funded by it, but it was not the case. The Federal Government, in fact, would give Rs 611 billion for the Karachi package.

The Federal Government was making all-out efforts to work with the provincial government for resolving the problems being faced by the Karachiites, but the latter had created confusion about its share in the package, so it was its responsibility to tell the facts to the people, he said while addressing here a news conference.

Shibli Faraz said though an opposition party was in power in Sindh, but the Federal Government was sincerely striving to work for the betterment of its people, particularly those of Karachi. The people of rural Sindh were also Pakistani citizens and the Federal Government also wanted to support them despite having limited resources.

About the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, the minister said its spokespersons spared no chance to politicizing things and try to mislead the masses.

The PML-N leaders were in the habit of telling lies. They adopted apologetic approach while summoned by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), but as soon as they were out of NAB offices they started bragging, he added, citing PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had to give answers to the questions of NAB.

The masses have rejected those who had multiplied their wealth and bank accounts when in power, he added.

Sharing the details of Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP), Shibli Faraz said the Federal Government committed to fund five projects, namely Greater Karachi Water Supply Project Rs 46 billion, Karachi Circular Railway Rs 300 billion, Railway Freight Corridor Rs 131 billion, Green Line BRT Rs 5 billion, and rehabilitation of river, nullahs and storm water drains, and resettlement of affected persons Rs 254 billion.

The details of the Federal Government’s funding were provided to remove ambiguities which had been created in the last couple of days, he added.

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The minister said the total cost of the projects was estimated at Rs 736 billion, and the Federal Government planned to request the Supreme Court to allow use part of the Bahria Town Settlement Fund of up to Rs 125 billion, which was expected to be available during the three-year execution period of the KTP.

The funding estimated to be arranged by the Federal Government was Rs 611 billion, while the balance of Rs 375 billion (out of total package of over Rs 1,100 billion) was the provincial government’s responsibility, he added.

It was pointed out in a statement issued during the news conference that during the meetings held for finalization of the KTP, the provincial government expressed the desire to take responsibility for the KCR project.

Since railways was a federal subject as per the Constitution and equally important was the fact that the Supreme Court had also conducted hearings with regard to the KCR and directed the Federal Government/ Pakistan Railways to undertake the project. As such the execution responsibility and funding burden estimated at Rs 300 billion had been included in the Federal Government’s responsibility under the KTP.

“It is, however, once again reiterated that the Federal Government is looking at working in collaboration with the provincial government for the development of Karachi and the real objective is to help the citizens of Karachi and not an effort to score political points,” the statement said.

Replying to media persons’ questions, Shibli Faraz said that protection of lives and property of the citizens irrespective of their status was the state’s responsibility. The high court had taken notice of the missing SECP official Sajid Gondal and the issue might be taken up by the Federal Cabinet tomorrow.

He said neither he nor his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was worried about the Financial Action Task Force law. “Neither myself nor my leader Imran Khan has ever indulged in money laundering so we are not worried. If a man has no intention to commit a murder, he will not be worried over the death sentence for the heinous crime.”

He expressed the hope that the opposition would vote for the FATF related legislation, as otherwise they would prove that they preferred personal interests over national ones.

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He said India was trying to get Pakistan’s name included in the blacklist of FATF and if the opposition parties did not vote for the legislation in that regard, they would in fact fulfill the enemy’s objective, which after failure to weaken Pakistan militarily, was trying to weaken it financially.

To a question, he said there was a trust deficit between the federal and Sindh governments and the latter was responsible for the same. Trillions of rupees funds were given, but no development work was carried out on the ground anywhere in the province.

Monitoring of the KTP’s implementation, he added, was the most important part because of the track record of the Sindh government. The Karachi Corps Commander and National Disaster Management Authority officials would be part of the implementation process, who would ensure completion of projects as per timelines.

Some of the projects, he said, would be completed in one year and the rest in two or three years. He said it was a fact that during the current year more than normal monsoon rains had occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh.

The KP government was spending from its own resources for rehabilitation of the flood affected people.

About payment of compensation to the families of the PIA plane crash victims, he said money was not replacement of a human life, but the bereaved families would get justice as far as payment of compensation was concerned.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had made it clear that the opposition would get no NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).

The opposition, he said, wanted to make the National Accountability Bureau dysfunctional by amending 34 out of 38 clauses of NAB law.

They wanted to declare more than five years old corruption cases as time barred and no case for bungling of less than Rs 1 billion which meant that they wanted a free hand for committing corruption.

About the Nawaz Sharif case, he said that it was for the court to declare him an absconder. It was, however, Nawaz Sharif’s moral responsibility to return to country, face the cases and get his name cleared if he had committed no crime.