KARACHI      -   The Arts Council of Pakistan has been revitalised -- external areas have been improved and urban space enhanced with soft and hard landscape to facilitate much more audience as compared to the past, says Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah. Speaking at the launch of urban spaces being revitalised at the Arts Council of Pakistan on Saturday, the chief minister said it would provide a platform for social integration of artists, intellects and students, particularly youth and women, focusing on “fast, low cost and high impact” interventions. The programme was attended by Home Secretary and KNIP Project Director Qazi Kabir, president of the Arts Council of Pakistan, Team KNIP, senior officers of the Sindh government, representatives

of the World Bank, citizens of Karachi, artists and media personnel.The chief minister said that the Sindh government, with the financial and technical support of the World Bank (WB), started a four-year Karachi

Neighbourhood Improvement Project (KNIP) in July 2017. He added that the purpose of the project was to enhance public spaces, urban roads infrastructure, mobility, inclusion and access to the market in targeted neighbourhoods such as Saddar, Malir and Korangi. The chief minister said that there were three major components of the project. They include Public Space and Mobility Improvements in selected neighbourhoods,

Support to Improved Administrative Services and City Capacity Development and Support for Implementation and Technical Assistance.The chief minister said that Educational and Cultural Zone in Saddar was being renovated and rehabilitated.

This includes Ziauddin Ahmed Road and MR Kayani Road. He said this triangular boundary has been selected

as subproject area of Phase-1. He said that total length of subproject

roads was estimated to be 2.5km. “A parking plaza has also been built to tackle the challenge of parking in one of the most crowded areas of the city,” he said. Besides this, Shah said, the Art Council of Pakistan has been renovated to provide safe public spaces to promote

culture and art. “The Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project under the P&D Department

is meant to provide enhanced public spaces in targeted neighbourhoods,

improved urban road infrastructure to enhance

mobility for access to important places and improve city’s capacity to provide selected administrative

services,” he said.He said the WB on the request of the Sindh government

carried out the Karachi City Diagnostic to support the government in implementation of Karachi Transformation Strategy through short-term and long-term engagements.

“The Karachi City Diagnostic provides an overview of challenges and opportunities facing the Karachi Metropolitan Region and estimates investment

levels needed to bridge the infrastructure gap and improve the metropolitan

region’s economic

potential,” he said.Shah said the cafeteria

and event space was enhanced through lights and landscaping elements

like greenbelts and fountains to provide an amazing ambiance for the artists to perform and the audience to enjoy. Shah said that from socio-economic

point of view this project was based on the participatory approach; it involved the project affected persons, project beneficiaries and local community to know their interests and priorities.