Centre, Sindh at odds over islands ordinance

Ali Zaidi says PPP gave its consent in July, Sindh minister contests claim


Our Correspondent October 06, 2020
Ali Zaidi claims islands near Karachi's coast fall in the jurisdiction of Port Qasim Authority. PHOTO: TWITTER/@AliHZaidiPTI

ISLAMABAD:

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi on Tuesday said the federal government wanted to develop islands located in Karachi and accused the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of ‘hypocrisy’ for opposing the ordinances aimed at creating an islands development authority.

Taking to Twitter, the minister shared a letter from the Sindh government and a map of the area under the Port Qasim Authority (PQA), and claimed that the provincial government had given its consent in July to the construction project in Bundal Island.

In his tweet, the minister said the federal government did not take any unconstitutional step and shared the notification of the PPP-led provincial government purportedly showing approval of construction project at the Island by the Sindh's Land Utilisation Department.

“The cat is out of the bag. All can see how hypocritical the PPP leadership is. No unconstitutional steps have been taken on Bundle Island. Attached is a letter dated July 2020 issued by the Sindh government,” he wrote in a tweet.

His reaction came a day after PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had said that his party would strongly oppose the "illegal annexation" of Sindh's islands through a presidential ordinance by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal government.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Sindh cabinet also unanimously rejected Presidential Ordinance under which the Pakistan Islands Development Authority has been established and called upon the federal government to withdraw the ordinance at once.

Zaidi said the island fell in the PQA jurisdiction, which worked under the federal government. “In pursuance of the said request made by the federal government, the Provincial Cabinet has decided to make land available to the federal government, as per law,” read the Sindh notification.

The ordinance, which emerged on social media on Friday aimed at developing cities, specifically on Bhandar and Dingi islands off the Karachi coast. Information Minister Shibli Faraz said in Islamabad that the federal government wanted to develop islands and protect the coastal areas.

 Responding to Ali Zaidi's tweet, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Shah said that the province had allowed the federal government to use the land for the construction purposes and denied that the islands were handed over to the Centre.

 “Three questions from you ... If this land was yours then why did you ask us for NOC? Where is it written in our reply that we gave you the land? You are only allowed for constructions, for the benefit of the local people, which can be given to any private entity as well,” Shah said.

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