ISLAMABAD - Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar on Wednesday stressed the Pakistan People’s Party to focus on ground work of the projects in Karachi committed during the agreement between the federal government and the Sindh province instead of making political point scoring. Talking to media persons here, the minister expressed disappointment over insane debate going on for last four days that who was contributing more in the projects.

He said people of Karachi were not concerned with who was contributing, they only wanted ground work of the projects. “The people of Karachi will hurl shoes at both PPP and PTI if they continue press conferences against each other instead of initiating practical work,” he added. 

Referring to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s press conference, the minister said, if the Sindh government claimed that it was contributing Rs 750 billion in the Rs 1100 billion for Karachi Transformation Plan, the Center was not much concerned.  But he said the PPP did not have will to initiate work for development of the city. 

“If you do not have will to work, it will not be done through just press conferences.” 

The minister said “work from our side has started as I called a meeting immediately after the agreement in which a week long deadline was set to start implementing the plan. 

He said today (Wednesday), he wrote a letter to Sindh Chief Minister for handing over the Greater Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV) project to the Centre as per desire of the Sindh government. 

Writes letter to Sindh CM for handing over K-IV project to Centre

He said the federal government had already initiated process for implementation of the KTP. To a question, the minister said that the K-IV, Karachi Circular Railways (KCR), Green Line and S3 were old projects but ground work on those projects never started. 

When asked that these projects were failed ones, he questioned how these could be declared as failed projects when work on them did not start.

Asad Omer said Karachi was waiting as this politics and dramas could not go on. He warned that both PTI and PPP will be trashed by Karachiites if they failed to deliver.  

Asad Omer said, “No one has asked me that when you are going to start work on Karachi plan or what you will do. This discussion is for the sake of divergence and it is wastage of time.” He said let’s start work as this politics will not work. 

“Let’s go to Karachi and show me KCR, Green Line, K-IV etc on the ground, show me these projects if they are old one,” he said.  He said that they are waiting to hear from China on the dates for the upcoming CPEC JCC. “We have a positive response from China on JCC and ML-I financing.” He said that work on new financial structure of ML-I will start. The new financial structure will be different from the previous one, he added.

Earlier Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives which met under the Chairmanship of Junaid Akbar, MNA took up “The Public-Private Partnership Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (Govt. Bill)”. The C.E.O from Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives briefed the committee about the aforesaid bill in detail. The committee unanimously decided to defer the bill till its next meeting. During the meeting, pointing towards Asad Omer, Ahsan Iqbal said, “You need to see that how many projects were executed by the previous planning minister and how many by the incumbent planning minister who is also MNA from the federal capital? A minister who cannot do anything for his constituency, how he will help this committee.” 

Neelum-Jhelum project cost escalated from Rs 80 billion to Rs 500 billion. He urged the government not to repeat the same mistakes in execution of Basha Dam project.

The committee directed that at the time of preparation of PSDP budget the neglected areas must be considered on priority. The committee recommended to enhance 10 percent budget of Higher Education Commission (HEC) so that, it could fulfill its requirements/projects in current financial year.  The representative from Higher Education Commission (HEC) briefed the committee about the agenda (PSDP No. 329, 2020-21). The committee directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to visit the University of Malakand to look into their problems and submit a detailed report within a week to the committee in this regard.  

The panel decided to hold its next meeting on the problems of the earthquake affectees in Abbotabad.