KARACHI - PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has said that the Sindh government is focusing on infrastructure development to fight the economic and governance crises.

He was addressing the inauguration ceremony held for seven development projects of Rs5.9 billion worth here at Shaheed-e-Millat Road on Saturday.

The PPP chief and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in their speeches accused the PTI led central government of painting a bad picture of the province for political point scoring.

Bilawal said that while there was need to create jobs in the country the federal government was doing just the opposite through its anti-poor and anti-business policies.

CM Murad particularly blasted the meeting of the Sindh’s opposition parties members with Prime Minister Imran Khan the other day wherein they sought the central government’s intervention for improving governance and political situation in Sindh.

He said he was quite surprised to see that some politically rejected persons of Sindh went to seek support from a person in Islamabad [PM Khan] who already feels scared of him and keeps abstaining from facing him.

Bilawal in his speech said, “Provision of jobs is a tradition of PPP and people will get jobs with the launch of these seven mega projects.” He said that creation of 10 million jobs across the country was needed to combat the economic predicament and lamented the federal government, on the contrary, was causing unemployment in the country.

The PPP chief said that the federal government facilitated billionaires with tax amnesty scheme whereas PPP launched the revolutionary Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for the poor and continues to struggle for protection of their interests.

“The federal government is not providing resources to the provinces. The businessmen and bureaucracy is unable to work due to NAB. There is no employment in the country and there is inflation everywhere. The small traders are suffering from [excessive] taxes,” he added.

Bilawal said that Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi Road, Shaheed-e-Millat Road and Sunset Boulevard Flyover were completed in a record five months. He added that timely completion of all the three projects was evidence of the hard work done by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and his team.

The PPP chief said the projects being inaugurated included Rs589.9 million Tariq Road Underpass, Rs668.2 million Begum Rana Liaqat Ali Flyover, Rs460.4 million Sun Set Flyover, Re-construction of Tipu Sultan Road for Rs308.6, Construction of Rs2,204 Underpass at Submarine Chowrangi, construction of Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi Road for Rs693.5 million, and 12000 Road Korangi for Rs1002 million.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in his speech said that the performance of his government has upset the sleep of such rejected political figures of Sindh and that was why they travelled to Islamabad and met with an already “panicked person”, asking him to take action against Sindh government.

“The panicked person flustered further and, in a fit of frustration, told his group of frustrated visitors not be panicked,” he commented.

Without naming the prime minister, Mr Shah claimed that Imran Khan was not able to face him and that was why he would neither meet him during his visits to Karachi nor convene CCI meetings. The CCI meeting the prime minister had convened on December 11 has also been postponed, he pointed out.

“He [PM Khan] knows when Murad Shah will attend the CCI meeting he will make them release the funds [of Sindh] the PTI government has stopped,” Murad said.

Addressing the leading businessmen in the inauguration programme, the chief minister said that the “panicked person” of Islamabad was “branding you as thieves though you have been contributing a lot” to the national exchequer.

That person sitting in Islamabad only learnt through media that the poor people were unable to bear the burden of price hike but “being close to the people of Sindh we feel the pain they are feeling while providing square meals to their family”, he said.

Murad said that a few projects such as Green Line and Manghopir Road reconstruction were launched by the PML-N federal government while the PPP initiated several public welfare and development projects in their last tenure.

Despite being the great claimant of Karachi you [PM] have not initiated even a single project here, nor did you complete the projects initiated by the Nawaz government.”

The chief minister said that he had a Karachi Diagnostic study conducted by the World Bank which revealed that Rs1 trillion was required to develop Karachi. “The Mayor of Karachi today met me and demanded Rs2 billion for development projects which I gave him but at the same time I told him that this amount was peanuts for this megalopolis,” he said.

He said there was an exhaustive list of the projects which were recently completed. He quoted widening and improvement of Shahrah-e-Faisal, University Road from Hassan Square to Safoora Goth, Hub River Road, Madinat ul Hikmat Road, Road From Fawara Chawk to Karachi Zoo, Beautification of Cantt Railway station and improvement of surrounding areas, Drig Road Underpass and Munzil Pump Flyover at N5.

He said he has launched 36 schemes under Karachi mega projects and most of them have been completed. He said that Shahrah-e-Faisal was reconstructed and widened while the drains along it, which were constructed in 1970s by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, have been reconstructed.

The CM said that the successful completion of signature projects initiated by Sindh government for Karachi citizens was a proud moment for them and an occasion to celebrate.

He said that apart from road infrastructure, Sindh was investing hugely in other sectors such as water supply and sewerage improvement projects, and fire-fighting and disaster management.

He quoted the following projects: Upgradation of PIPRI Filter Plant, Laying of Water Supply lines for Orangi /Baldia Town, and Improvement / Replacement of all water and sewerage system. He said his government has procured 104-meter high snorkel for Karachi, and 10 fire-fighting machines. He added that more fire tenders were in process of procurement.

Moreover, he said that work on six projects was in progress and would be completed in next financial year. They include Road 8000 Korangi (Shahrah-e-Darul Uloom), Construction of Flyover at Korangi No 2 ½. Construction of Flyover at Korangi No 5. Construction of Shaheed e Millat – Hyder Ali Junction Underpass. Construction of 12 different Roads around Lee Market Lyari and Saddar Town and Construction / Extension of Bridge at Orangi Nallah.

He added that Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Dual Carriageway Project has started giving Sindh govt huge financial returns, apart from contributing to social uplift of the region.