KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly was informed on Monday that the government has stopped work on Zulfikarabad city, a proposed modern city in Thatta district, and will now establish a port near Keti Bunder.
During the question and answer session, Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro said the plan to develop the modern city of Zulfikarabad was envisaged by the Pakistan Peoples Party government in 2010 but due to a land issue, the government was forced to stop development. “We have not yet laid down the infrastructure such as roads. It could take five to 10 years to complete the city but so far we cannot predict when it will be finished,” Dr Mandhro said, adding that government land is available in areas where the modern city would be established with different colonies with economic zones.
“The government will establish its own port, which will remain under the domain of the provincial government,” he told members, adding that there was once a bustling town in the area named Keti Bunder but it is no more.
“The Sindh government intends to revive Keti Bunder as a port city,” he said, adding that the government has conducting a study on this project. “We are also planning a fishing city in this area because the area is mostly populated by fishermen,” he said.
Responding to a question, Dr Mandhro said that this city was being developed by the Zulfikarbad Development Authority but the government has not made any allocations for it.
Controversy has arisen due to this project, as many opposition political parties and civil society organisations are up in arms against the project. They are supporting the local residents of the area who claim their land records have been tampered with and that the government has usurped their land for the project. Many Sindhi nationalists fear that with establishment of this city, the Pakistan Peoples Party government will invite ‘outsiders’ to the province, turning the local residents into a minority.
The assembly passed a law upgrading the Sukkur Institute of Business Administration (IBA) to a university. The ‘Sukkur IBA University Bill, 2017’ was moved by Parliamentary Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro. “Keeping in view the growth and future needs of higher education and research, it is expedient to upgrade this institution to a university,” he said.
According to the law, Sukkur IBA was earlier only offering a business administration degree but after its upgrade to a university, other faculties such as the faculty of management of science, faculty of science and information technology, faculty of engineering and technology, faculty of agriculture business, faculty of education, faculty of mathematics and related studies and faculty of natural science will be established. The university will also require all Muslim students to an Islamic education course, while non-Muslims will have the option to take an ethics course.
The law states that the syndicate of the university will consist of the vice-chancellor, who will be its chairperson, pro-vice-chancellor, deans of faculties, three university teachers from different departments, principals of the constituent colleges, the registrar, the treasurer and controller of examinations.
100 parliamentary days
Monday also marked 100 days of the Sindh Assembly’s parliamentary year, which ends on May 29. After the 18th Amendment, it is mandatory for every provincial assembly to complete 100 days by summoning various sessions.
The assembly also adopted a resolution paying tribute to Lal Shahbaz Qalander on his urs. The members demanded research be conducted on the Sufi saint and his poetry.
The session was later adjourned till today (Tuesday).