Pakistan’s economic capital Karachi receives $250M uplift package from new PM

Governor Sindh will directly supervise the spending of the $250m Karachi and $50m Hyderabad development packages

Irshad Salim — Newly elected Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has announced a huge development package of $250 million (Rs25 billion) for Karachi — Pakistan’s economic capital, and $50 million (Rs5 billion) for Hyderabad – two major cities of Sindh province in southern Pakistan a few hundred miles east of Gwadar port in Balochistan- -gateway to the $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The PM made the announcement while addressing a press conference in the megacity on Saturday during his maiden visit to the province — Karachi is its capital.

The Prime Minister added that the Sindh governor will supervise the spending of the uplift package, and will seek advice from the provincial government.

Abbasi said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) — largest political party in the metropolis, had supported the PML-N led government and all efforts would be made to address their issues. MQM-P’s 24 national assembly lawmakers unanimously voted for Abbasi after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 on Panama Papers case.

The MQM leaders during the meeting with the new PM demanded that their workers in custody be released and their sealed offices opened. The prime minister thanked MQM leaders for voting for him during the election and assured them of all support and cooperation going forward ‘within the legal limits’, according to sources.

The development package is will undoubtedly give MQM-Pakistan a boost politically in both the cities — their traditional strongholds and pave way for a likely alliance between PML-N and MQM-P in Sindh, said some observers.

Abbasi also met Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah earlier in the day and discussed law and order situation as well as the recent Sindh government move to replace the federal anti-corruption law with its own.

The Governor turned down the NAB repeal law and sent it back to the lawmakers for further review.

Abbasi said the Rangers — Pakistan’s paramilitary law force, will continue their anti-terror, anti-crime work in Karachi and would be given any assistance or support that they needed.

“The law and order situation will be (further) improved,” he said adding that the PML-N leadership has resolved to solve such problems.

He said the Sindh Assembly law about NAB will be reviewed and added that the governor represents the federation.

The prime minister also met with a delegation of MQM-P at the Governor’s House comprising its chief Dr Farooq Sattar, Faisal Subzwari, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Kunwar Naveed.

He also met with the business community at the Governor House.

According to many observers, the security situation in the metropolis has greatly improved in the past four years, and the confidence of business community had been restored thus resulting in increased ratio of investment — local and foreign. Property buy and sell has also markedly improved in the megacity according to analysts.

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