Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Saturday said a mega development package for the city on the lines of the Karachi package would be worked out soon.

“We have discussed the projects required for development of Hyderabad during my today’s visit,” he said this while addressing a press conference at the zonal office of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) here.

The minister particularly pointed out the federal university project, which was being established in Kohsar, Latifabad, and said that the land acquisition was a stumbling block in timely completion of the project.

“I will meet Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah) on Monday and take up this issue as well,” he told, underlining the need of providing greater higher education facilities to the youth in the area.

He apprised that the Engineering Support Center of the Federal Ministry of Industries had been established in Hyderabad to support the industries especially motorbike, bangles and others.

“The manifestos of MQM-P and PTI are improving the lives of the people and this is why in the last federal budget, some schemes for Hyderabad included,” he said.

“If you check the streets in Karachi and Hyderabad you will not find the basic facilities which are the provincial government’s onus. Therefore, the federal government felt the need for those smaller schemes,” he explained.

Umar told that he had discussed with the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly MPA, Firdous Shamim Naqvi and MQM-P’s representatives that the center wanted to get approved a big package for Hyderabad on the lines of the Karachi package in collaboration with the provincial government.

He said the prospect of launching mutual mega development projects in Hyderabad being the largest city after Karachi, as well under a joint strategy.

The minister said during his interaction with Hyderabad’s business community, the latter acknowledged that the problems they had been confronting were under purview of the provincial government which had failed to address them.

“Who holds the reins of power in Sindh. Aren’t these the same people whose financial resources have kept increasing but at the same time the problems of the people are also building up?” he questioned.

Responding to a query about arrest of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s leader, Capt (r) Safdar after October 18 rally of Pakistan Democratic Movement in Karachi, the minister said the way he was apprehended was uncalled for.

“Will anyone tell if the federal government got any benefit or loss from Safdar’s arrest. If the latter is true then why will the center do this?” he asked.

He also questioned why the people were not raising the question that the sanctity of Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum was violated when the political slogans were raised there.

Commenting on the PML-N’s assertion that the PTI’s government would not complete the ongoing year 2020 in power, he said the people making the predictions were the same who used to say they own no property in the UK or even in Pakistan.

Asad Umar told that the Hyderabad package would be worked out after the Karachi package’s development works would be streamlined.

When asked about the court’s judgment concerning justice Qazi Faez Essa, he said the full bench itself came to the conclusion that there were relevant questions about the properties which needed to be answered.

“It means the court agreed with the contention that the questions which arose needed answers,” he underscored,

The minister said the attorney general Anwar Masood Khan was a sophisticated person but might be possible that some of his remarks had offended the court.

Responding to a question about the controversy revolving around the Bhundar and Dingi islands in Sindh, the minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan had already clarified that the issue would be resolved with consensus.

“We aren’t sending an army to occupy these islands. The PPP’s (previous) federal government had itself tried to initiate similar projects on these islands,” he recalled.

Asad Umar reiterated that in July, 2020, why did the provincial government issue NOC for the two islands to the center if they were opposed to the federal initiative.

” I think only politics is being done on the islands,” he observed.

He contended that presently Pakistan, particularly Sindh, needed investment and employment which would be provided by the island projects.

Commenting on the PDM’s power show in Karachi on October 18, Umar said PTI and MQM-P could hold a far larger power show in Karachi if the threat of spread of COVID-19 pandemic did not exist.

“We do not feel any pressure from PDM’s power show,” he said, adding that the two parties had 20 seats of the National Assembly in Karachi and Hyderabad.

He said the COVID-19 policy of Pakistan had been appreciated by the global community and advised the people to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) because the virus was still present.

The minister noted that the spread of the virus would affect both the human health and livelihood.

When questioned about the controversy concerning the population census 2017, he told that the federal government had formed a cabinet committee, comprising representatives from all the provinces, to resolve the issue.

“If the census increases the Karachi population, Sindh’s share in the NFC and the federal resources will also increase.

My question is why we haven’t heard the voice of the CM Sindh or Sindh government on this issue. This question should be asked from them,” he said.