Won’t go ahead on islands without Sindh govt: Governor

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Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has attempted to soothe the Sindh government’s concerns that the federal government is taking over two islands off Karachi’s coast for a massive real estate project. The islands will remain with Sindh, their revenue will go to it, he said at a press conference on Thursday. We will not go ahead until we are on the same page as the Sindh government, he said. “We have to move ahead together. If they are worried about the ordinance, revenue, environment, we will address them all,” he said. He brought up the reaction civil society and green activists had to news. “To date, no environmental study has been done on these islands,” said Ismail. “All the people who are objecting to it have no environmental study on it. In 70 years, no environmental study exists on this island. He went on to criticise the architects and green activists who have been talking about the ecology they documented there. “Everyone is just saying their own thing. Some people are talking about the turtles, some the mangroves, some the fish,” he said. “When actually there are no fish around this island because of the raw sewage.” They will set up a raw sewage treatment plant, a desalination plant, he added. “It will be Pakistan’s first green city project.” He said that the world is interested in it. “Malaysia has made a forest city on this pattern on an island, China has made a global city with $300b, Sri Lanka made a port city on just 800 acres or within 1,000 acres with $14b foreign direct investment.” He said that Karachi had 8,000 acres and if you went by $14b, you can imagine where this could go. An estimated 150,000 people from every industry will get jobs, from engineers to construction companies to carpenters. “We are estimating $50b on the project,” he added. “The whole world has shown interest in it. China, Malaysia have shown interest. And us, we are falling victim to confusion.” He wanted to tell his “brothers and sisters” in civil society who are worried about the environment that Prime Minister Imran Khan himself was more worried than them. “Which prime minister before hm ever even mentioned the environment? He planted trees. People scoffed at it, that this was a tree-planting sarkar.” There is no question of and it is impossible for Imran Khan to want to damage the environment for any project, he said. “The many times I’ve taken an aerial view of Karachi with Khan sahib every time we’ve been to interior Sindh, or from Punjab, he keeps looking down and asking, ‘Whose patch is that’? Plant trees there. He is always worried about it.” The world has recognised Imran Khan as the prime minister who has the environment on his agenda and here people are worried that he is going to destroy Bundal island, he went on to say. “There is only one reason for this vision: Pakistan should get foreign exchange, it is hungry for it,” he said. Our coastal line is not developed, roads are destroyed, there is no activity, no sports, but everything will be provided here at Bundal Island, he said. “We are all excited. This is a project so you can compete with any city, including Dubai. You will earn revenue.”

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