KARACHI (Oct 25): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that he has made all out efforts to make Sindh a peaceful, prosperous and developed province. “I have set some clear directions and I am sure these directions would lead to the target.”
This he said while addressing a 23-member delegation of Foreign Service Academy (FSA) led by its DG Mr Iftikhar Aziz here at CM House Wednesday. The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Dr Sikandar Mendhro, Jam Mehtab Dahar, Secretary Home Qazi Shahid Parvaiz and others.
The chief minister spoke in length on different topics such as law and orders, finance, and development. He also replied the questions of the participants.
Talking about development, the chief minister said that energy, poverty, nutrition, sustainable development goals and climate change are some of the challenges.
He said that 30 percent of the population is not connected to the national grid. Shortage of electricity is uto 1200 MW. Shortfall of gas supply is up to 180 MMCFD. Therefore, the provincial government has taken some policy initiatives. They include taping of alternate energy resources such as wind, solar, bio-energy, hydro (Run of the River), development of Thar Coal Infrastructure and establishment of Sindh Transmission & Dispatch Company.
Talking about poverty reduction programme (PRP), the chief minister said that in 2008-9 Union council based PRP was started in four districts for Rs5.37 billion. The programme was further expanded in six districts in 2016-17 with additional funds of Rs4.19 billion. The European Union also launched a 5-year program in eight districts for Rs70 million Euros. In short, the poverty reduction programme benefited over 750,000 households.
Talking about Nutrition Support Programme (NSP), the chief minister said that the provincial government has started the programme with the assistance of World Bank for Rs4117.9 million in nine districts, including Tharparkar. He added that UN Maternal and Child Nutrition Stunting Reduction Programe has also been started in Ghotki, Khairpur and Naushehroferoze for Rs $20 million. Another European Union funded Improved Nutrition in Sindh programme has been launched in eight districts for Euro60 million.
Syed Murad Ali Shah said that there is a 344 billion development portfolio of the province which includes Rs244 billion ADP, Rs27.3 billion Fed PSDP, Rs42.7 billion foreign funded projects and Rs30 billion District ADP.
He said that 2974 schemes, including 2158 on-going and 816 new are in progress for Rs244 billion. He added that Irrigation, local government, road network, education, energy (Thar coal), health and food security have been given special focus in terms of financial allocations.
Secretary P&D Ms Shireen Narejo also gave presentation to the participants of the meeting on development portfolio of the province.
He said that the province of Sindh has long been known for its progressive politics, religious tolerance, pluralism and vibrant civil society but like other parts of Pakistan, Sindh has undergone change and is no more immune to the security challenges influences.
The challenges were violent Sectarianism, infiltration of terrorists, vulnerability of Dargahs/shrines; arms’ smuggling; Enemy Intelligence Networks.
Syed Murad Ali Shah evaluating and analyzing internal security dynamics of Sindh said it would be useful to take the year 2013 as the point of reference. There were security & public order challenges. Polarization on ethnic and sectarian lines, militants had sought shelter in political/religious parties, criminal gangs had established their sway and no-go areas had emerged where organized crime of mass scale such as targeted Killing, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, Street Crime developed.
Talking about the Sindh government response to the challenges, the chief minister said a well-thought Karachi Operation in the direction of National Action Plan was started. Under the operation Rangers with special powers (under Article 147 and ATA 1997) was deployed. Intelligence based, well-coordinated operation was launched, it proved so effective that without bloodshed of any innocent person terrorists and criminal gangs were busted. “It was quite unique operation that on the one hand police and rangers were conducting operation, searching homes and on the other normal life was in progress,” he said and added that the government has also revamping Criminal Justice System, started political reconciliation and also started reconstruction of the city.
The chief minister said that his government has financially strengthened the police department. “We have provided equipment & vehicles to the police and have made meritocratic recruitment. The newly recruited policemen have been given army training and have also raised their morale by launching welfare and incentive programs,” he said.