fbpx mmnews

Islands’ controversy

A controversy has emerged over the custody of two islands off the coast of Karachi where the federal government wants to build mega commercial and housing schemes. An ordinance was promulgated last month under which the Centre took over the islands but the issue has now come to the forefront.

President Alvi had promulgated the Pakistan Islands Development Authority 2020. A new body was set up which will be headed by a senior military officer or bureaucrat and will be tax-exempt for ten years. The prime minister will be the patron of the authority and will approve all development schemes.

After much uproar, it was revealed that the Sindh government had handed over islands to the federal government and its criticism was unwarranted. Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi brought forward a letter to the limelight proving that the Sindh government had allowed the development in July. A brief look at the functions of the PIDA suggests it would act like a land-owning agency and performs the functions of a fully empowered local government.

The far-reaching powers of the PIDA compelled the Sindh government to withdraw the letter, leaving the federal government’s plans hanging in the balance. It claims the development of the island was subject to certain conditions and protection of the interest of local communities and fishermen which have not been honoured.

The two islands – Buddo and Bundal – are located just miles across the coast of Karachi and have been eyed by real-estate tycoons and businessmen since years. In 2013, a deal was reached between Malik Riaz and American real-estate Thomas Kramer worth $20 billion. The project included a skyscraper and other modern facilities but was never materialized and investors pulled out.

The fate of the two islands once again hangs in a limbo as the Sindh and federal government spar over its custody. The project will promote trade, investment and became a tourist destination of the country. It is also imperative that the necessary laws should be followed in any agreements rather than making covert deals. The federal should also bring the issue into parliament rather than passing ordinances or take any unconstitutional steps.

Get the MMnews App now & scroll through your favourite content faster!
Comments: 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *