ISLAMABAD: Pinning the fate of mega projects, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, on creating a favourable environment for foreign investment, the newly appointed Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to consider the prevailing conditions in Sindh in general and the provincial capital in particular and to exercise options accordingly.
The security measures and related steps directed at allaying the fears and concerns among business community who were long held hostage at the hands of criminal networks and gang mafias, mainly dominated the meeting’s agenda, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Sources privy to the meeting’s details shared that Zubair briefed the premier about his initial assessment of the situation in Karachi, which, he said needed continuity of the existing policies devised together by the civilian government and military command for sustainable peace in the city.
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The governor in the past week has held key meetings to discuss the security situation of the metropolis. Earlier on Tuesday, Corps Commander Karachi Lieutenant General Shahid Baig Mirza exchanged notes with Sindh governor on the security situation in the city wherein security measures vis-à-vis economic and business conditions in the city were discussed.
Last month, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid a visit to Karachi and met members of the business community while assuring them that Karachi would be ‘purged of terrorists.’
The development saw an escalation in the security forces’ targeted operation in Karachi with a number of alleged ‘hardcore’ terrorists and criminal gang members either taken out or arrested.
Source close to Sindh governor said he held meetings with the representatives of security establishment including senior army, Rangers, intelligence and law enforcement officials as well as members of business community before sharing his findings with the PM on Friday.
“The hostile agencies are out to sabotage CPEC. The stakeholders, therefore, need to be on the same page to counter and neutralise external threats as well as those coming from within,” an insider explained the meeting’s agenda.
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An official statement quoted the PM as saying, “With mutual consensus of all stakeholders, we acted for bringing peace in Karachi and by the grace of Almighty, law and order situation has substantially improved.”
It said the federal government is focusing on development of Sindh—both urban and rural. The official sources said the recent arrests of those terror suspects who had political patronage and were involved in extortion, targeted killings and kidnapping for ransom were also discussed.
According to them, laying tough hands on political violence is still a challenge in Karachi given that civilian leadership, at times, has shown hesitation for a blanket crackdown to this effect.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, PM’s Adviser Ameer Muqam confirmed that the steps for improvement of security situation and to provide conducive environment to business community were discussed in the meeting. Earlier, the premier also met Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri to discuss issues pertaining to development projects in Balochistan.
The federal government is focused on development of Balochistan which was ‘unfortunately’ ignored during previous government, a press release quoted the prime minister as saying.
“We have made Balochistan a hub of development through investments in road and energy sectors,” Sharif said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2017.