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Massive package for Karachi

THERE is a reason for people of Karachi to be happy as Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced a massive Rs 162 billion package for the provincial capital, which includes grants for 18 projects, focusing on priority areas like transportation and water provision. Importance of the package can also be gauged from the fact that ten projects are related to development of public transport network in the city while seven others pertain to water and sewerage infrastructure. ‘
Karachi, being port city, contributes greatly to country’s economy and is also largest, most populous metropolitan of Pakistan yet regrettably it was always neglected in terms of addressing its long-standing issues of transport, water and waste management. Under the mayorship of Naimatullah Khan and Mustafa Kamal, the city saw some improvement in terms of infrastructure development but as efforts subsequently were not sustained, the provincial capital today is faced with plethora of problems with people even having no access to clean drinking water while heaps of garbage are a common sight there. It was in this context that majority of Karachites voted in favour of the PTI in previous elections with the hope that their problems will be addressed. Despite constraints of the 18th amendment, the PTI government as per election promise came forward with a package to bring improvement and one expects that work on the projects announced by it will also be started and completed without any delay.
Given its population size, a well integrated public transport system for the city has become need of the hour and equally important is a waste management system and sustainable supply of water. Announcing the package, Prime Minister Imran Khan also stressed the need for a Karachi Master Plan assuring that he will cooperate with provincial authorities in every way to ensure city’s integrated development. Indeed working in coordination with the provincial and local governments is the way forward, if the PTI government really wants to bring a genuine change in Karachi and make it a well-planned modern city. Master Plans for other major cities including Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Faisalabad and Quetta also needs to be prepared and properly implemented as equipping the cities with all modern facilities will help build image of the country and attract more investment both from domestic and foreign sources.