KARACHI - The Ministry of Defence has agreed to approve the mega project of construction of Airstrip at Islamkot of Thar area in Sindh near international border with India, officials told The Nation. Sources said that Defence Ministry earlier had asked the Sindh government to get clearance from the General Headquarters (GHQ) because the proposed project in Thar is located within 80 kilometers of International Border. The issue came under discussion at high level meeting, held in the chair of Federal Secretary of Defence Ministry at Islamabad on Friday (Sept 25), where GHQ and Defence Ministry agreed to give clearance to the project. The senior officials of Civil Aviation Authority, GHQ, provincial Secretary of Mines and Mineral Department of Sindh government and other officials concerned also participated the meeting. Provincial Secretary of Mines and Mineral Department of Sindh government Aijaz Ali Khan while talking to The Nation disclosed that in the light of decisions made in the meeting in Defence Ministry, Provincial government modifying the PC-1 of the project, some changes would be made in the scheme. It may be noted here that the idea of construction of the airstrip at Islamakot in Thar area was aimed at providing easy way to foreign investors to reach Thar Coal Field. However, the proposed airstrip would be enhanced on the pattern of PPL airport in Baluchistan. Secretary Mines and Mineral Department said that Sindh government will be sponsoring agency, while Civil Aviation Authority will be executing, tendering and supervising agency of the scheme. After getting approval required, the project will be completed within two years, he hopped. However, sources said that GHQ referring the report of Roads and Bridges Committee on Ministry of Defence Committee, has asked the Sindh government that construction of Airstrip at Islamkot falls within the 80 kilometers of International border, requires clearance from the General Headquarters. Sources further said that GHQ has also said, 'In case aforesaid project is in the offing, Sindh government should furnish the details of the scheme for obtaining prior clearance from the concerned authorities. Sources privy to the development confirmed that Sindh government in reply, sent to GHQ on Sept 12, 2009, had said that Sindh government had clearance in 2003 from the GHQ to execute the project, while it had also requested Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to provide assistance in the identification and selection of a suitable site for the airstrip. In a joint field survey conducted by Civil Aviation Authority, Sindh Coal Authority and Local Administration, an area falling around villages Shive-Jo-Tar and Bhope-Jo-Tar near Islamkot Town was identified and selected, Sindh government said, adding that whole process of survey was initiated after the clearance by HQ-5 Corps, the Government of Sindh approved the project at the cost of Rs972.07 million which is being executed by the Civil Aviation Authorities.