Imran Khan is on an official trip to Karachi.
Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced an Rs162 billion development package for Karachi city, which will be focused on priority areas like transportation and water provision.
The package includes grants for 18 projects. The premier, who is on an official trip to Karachi, made the announcement during a meeting of the Karachi Transformation Committee, chaired by him.
Imran said that out of the 18 proposed projects, 10 are related to the development of the public transport network in the city. Seven other projects are related to the water and sewerage infrastructure.
He laid particular emphasis on the importance of water conservation in Karachi. He regretted that no plan to preserve water had been formulated by previous governments and urged the committee to start a campaign to conserve the resource.
The prime minister said that while a master plan for Karachi was essential, an interim plan for the city should be put in place to address the pressing challenges that the metropolis is facing. He promised that he will cooperate with provincial authorities in every way to ensure the development of Karachi, which, he said, was vital for the progress of Pakistan.
He also said that further horizontal expansion of Karachi must be stopped and the slum areas of the city should be developed.
The prime minister also inaugurated Bagh Ibne Qasim, where he stressed the importance of planting trees and “saving the green areas” in Karachi. He lamented that Karachi had become a “concrete slab,” and said the government will allow the construction of more high-rise buildings in the city in order to prevent them from expanding and taking over land that can be used to plant trees.
The premier pointed out that Pakistan was among the top 10 countries that were most vulnerable to climate change. “Our coming generations will never forgive us if we don’t save our green areas.”
He commended Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar for “building and preserving” the Ibne Qasim park.
Imran also warned Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif that they can join hands or do as they please but the government “will only let them go if they return the nation’s money.”
Addressing a rally at the palace of Grand Democratic Alliance’s (GDA) Ali Gohar Khan Mahar in Khangarh, the premier said, “Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad visited Pakistan on my invitation. The Malaysian premier strengthened institutions and brought happiness in the lives of his people.”
“Nations aren’t poor but corruption makes them poor and indebted,” he continued. “Pakistan was progressing in Asia and today each and every child in the country owes debt. We also need to take loans to pay back loans,” the premier lamented.
“After the 18th Amendment, the federation became bankrupt. After expenditures, the federation goes in a debt of Rs700 billion,” he continued.
Stating that in the past the nation was plunged in debt, Imran said, “Sindh should have been Pakistan’s happiest province. Karachi is Pakistan’s economic hub and the most gas is found in Sindh.”
“Land in Sindh is fertile but people in interior Sindh are the most poor and the only reason for that is corruption,” he stated. Upholding that Rs237 billion were given to Sindh in ten years as gas royalty, the premier asked, “How much did Ghotki get? 70 per cent of Sindh’s gas comes from Ghotki.”
Taking a hit at the PPP, Imran said, “A train march was launched to hide corruption worth millions of rupees. Money from corruption goes into fake bank accounts that is then laundered out of the country.”
Alleging that people were asked to join the train march in return for Rs2,000, Imran claimed, “The poor were given Rs200 instead and cheated.”
Upholding that “today a drama is being staged that democracy is in danger because accountability is being done”, the premier said, “I challenge you [Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif] today, do whatever you want, join hands if you want, we still won’t leave you. We will only leave you if you return the nation’s money.”
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