KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said that he has made all 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,” he said while addressing a 23-member delegation of Foreign Service Academy led by its Director General Mr Iftikhar Aziz.
The chief minister spoke in length on different topics such as law and orders, finance, and development and replied questions of participants. Talking about development, he said that energy, poverty, nutrition, sustainable development goals and climate change are some of the pressing challenges.
30 pct population not connected to national grid
He said that thirty percent of the population is not connected to the national grid. The shortage of electricity is up to 1200 MW while gas supply shortfall is up to 180 MMCFD.
Therefore, the provincial government has taken some policy initiatives including taping alternate energy resources such as wind, solar, bio-energy, hydro, development of Thar Coal infrastructure and establishment of Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company.
Talking about poverty reduction programme (PRP), CM Sindh said that in 2008-9 union council-based programme was started in four districts for Rs5.37 billion and was further expanded in six districts in 2016-17 with additional funds of Rs4.19 billion.
The European Union also launched a give-year program in eight districts for Rs70 million Euros. The poverty reduction programme has benefited over 750,000 households.
Foreign-funded programmes on health, nutrition
Talking about Nutrition Support Programme (NSP), CM Sindh said that the provincial government has started the programme with the assistance of World Bank worth Rs 4117.9 million in nine districts including Tharparkar.
He added that United National Maternal and Child Nutrition Stunting Reduction Programme have been launched in Ghotki, Khairpur and Naushehro Feroze for $20 million. Another European Union-funded Improved Nutrition in Sindh programme has been launched in eight districts for 60 million Euros.
Sindh has Rs344 billion development portfolio
CM Sindh said that the province has Rs344 billion development portfolio including Rs244 billion Annual Development Programs, Rs27.3 billion federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), Rs42.7 billion foreign-funded projects and Rs30 billion district ADP.
He said that 2974 schemes including 2158 ongoing and 816 new are in progress worth Rs244 billion, and that irrigation, local government, road network, education, energy particularly Thar coal, health and food security have been given special focus in terms of financial allocations.
Sindh not immune to security challenges
He said that Sindh has long been known for its progressive politics, religious tolerance, pluralism and vibrant civil society, but like other parts of Pakistan has undergone change and is not immune to the security challenges including violent sectarianism, infiltration of terrorists, vulnerability of shrines, arms smuggling and enemy intelligence networks.
Evaluating and analysing internal security dynamics of Sindh, the chief minister said it would be useful to take the year 2013 as the point of reference when there were security and public order challenges.
Talking about the Sindh government response, CM Sindh said an operation was started and the Rangers were deployed with special powers to conduct intelligence based, well-coordinated operations.
“It was quite unique operation that on one hand police and rangers was conducting operations, searching homes and on the other normal life was in progress,” he said about the effective operation.
He added that the government has also revamped the criminal justice system, started political reconciliation and reconstruction of the city.
Sindh Police budget increased over Rs81 bn
Home Secretary Qazi Shahid Parvaiz said that from September 2013 to this date the police arrested 1,557, and killed 424 terrorists, while 152 kidnappers for ransom were arrested and 38 were killed. Furthermore, 725 extortionist were arrested and 25 were killed, and 3161 murderers were arrested 1258 killed.
Inspector General Police AD Khowaja added that 128,218 other criminals were also arrested and 1285 were killed, while police recovered 592 kg explosive material, 28,249 weapons and 610,826 ammunition.
CM Sindh that his government has financial strengthened the police department, whose budget has increased from Rs 51.005 billion in 2013-14 to Rs81.105 billion in 2017-18.
“We have provided equipment and vehicles to the police and have made merit recruitments. The newly recruited policemen have been given army training and have also raised their morale by launching welfare and incentive programs,” he said.