KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the provincial government has invested over $1 billion in the development of Thar .

“This investment would pay huge dividends to the people of Pakistan in the shape of 10,000 MW power generation in the first phase to meet the energy requirements of our domestic, industrial and commercial consumers,” he added.

He was addressing a 50-member delegation of assistant superintendents of police (ASPs) undergoing training at Police Academy Islamabad. The meeting was attended by Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, IG Police AD Khawaja, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput and others.

The chief minister said that Benazir Bhutto during her tenure in 1994-95 had decided to develop coal mining sector and install coal-based power plants, but her efforts were shelved.

“However, she had laid the foundation of the plan, which her party’s provincial government has now taken up as her mission,” Murad added.

He said the provincial government had invested over $1 billion in the development of Thar under which road network would be spread, an airport would be built, and water supply system would be strengthened through RO plants. “Top class Marvi Lodges for investors have also been built there,” he elaborated.

He further said that work on Thar coal project, which had started in partnership with Engro Pakistan, was over 50 percent complete.

“Yes, we ignored Thar , the future of Pakistan. We could have developed four Metros Bus projects in Karachi,” he admitted and added, “But we have secured the future of people of Pakistan by starting mining for power generation and Insha Allah the dream of Benazir Bhutto will come true in 2019 when power generation is due to start.”

Replying to a question, the chief minister said that the provincial government had established a new working relationship with national and international partners. “We have constructed an important road from Hyderabad to Mirpur, a bridge over River Indus at Jhirk-Milakatiar and have built a power plant under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode,” he said and added this partnership would develop further in different sectors such as health, education, agriculture and other sectors.

Replying to another question, the chief minister said that the health sector had improved in Sindh tremendously. “Our JPMC, NICVD, SIUT and various other institutions have achieved an excellence,” he said and added that these health services were being imparted to all the people. “This achievement always gives inner satisfaction,” he said, and added that still he had to work a lot.

Murad , to another question, said that Karachi was one of the most troubled cities in the world. “Organised mafias held their sway, while target killings, extortion, incidents of terrorism were at their peak,” he recalled.

“We worked hard and improved the morale of our policemen by enhancing their salaries, tremendously increasing compensation for victims’ families, launched a policy under which families of martyred policemen would continue to receive salaries,” he reminded.