KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the success of a government depends on certain factors such as good governance which is panacea of all the ills, clear and candid vision, proper approach to address the issues and good law and order situation to attract investment.

“This is the summary of my list of priorities on which I am working day and night with sincerity, dedication and spirit to serve the people of my province.”

Murad was addressing a luncheon-meeting organised by US Consul General Grace W Shelton and American Business Council at a local hotel here on Thursday.

Theme of the roundtable meeting centered round taxation and the role of Sindh Board of Revenue, the overall security environment, federal and provincial relations and infrastructure for industry.

The CM said that there were certain challenges to Sindh government. “The glaring challenge was the worst law and order in the city which had not only affected day-to-day life of the citizens but capital’s flight had also started,” he said, and added, “The PPP government in Sindh fought successfully against the terrorists, extortionists and target killers and restored writ of the government.”

He reminded that the targeted operation was still going on to crush the enemies of peace, humanity and Pakistan. 

He said that the first and foremost task was law and order and after its restoration, reconstruction of dilapidated infrastructure, residential and industrial, had started and simultaneously confidence of international investors had been restored. “This is the new face of Karachi- a peaceful face where investment opportunities are ample and open, government is investment-friendly, infrastructure is being developed, work on water supply and drainage schemes is in progress, all the stakeholders, including the industrialists, architects and civil society are on board for the development of the city,” he said.

Murad said that he was not saying that good governance had been completely introduced, but “Believe me I have taken the first step and have made good progress and very soon people will witness improvement in governance,” he assured, and added that the quality and pace of the ongoing reconstruction of the city, recruitment in police on merit, involvement of private partners in managing some of the health and educational facilities in the larger interest of the public are some of the indicators of good governance of his government.

“I would give the example of construction of Sir Aga Khan Bridge, the longest bridge on River Indus at Jhirk-Mulla Katiar, Hyderabad- Mirpurkhas Road and some other important projects which have been launched successfully under public-private partnership which speak volumes of our direction towards good governance,” he added.

Replying to a question, the CM said that the local bodies had enough powers to serve the people of their respective areas. “They have plenty of funds but what some of the newly elected leadership of local bodies lack at their end is the ability to take initiative,” he said, and added that the KMC and KWSB were overstaffed.

“The Sindh government, apart from giving to KMC its due OZT share, releases to it Rs500 million every month to pay salaries to their staff,” he said, and added, “It is not my duty to rationalise the staff of these bodies, but it’s the duty of newly- elected office-bearers of local bodies who should start the exercise, bring their workers back to work and mobilise their all the resources for public interest.”

Talking about lifting the garbage and streamlining day-to-day cleanliness work, Murad said that a Chinese company was going to start mechanical sweeping. “They have distributed 18000 dustbins only in District South. They would make district South neat and clean and then move towards District East and in this way, they will be expanding their work to all over Karachi,” he informed.

The chief minister, replying to a question about smuggling of Rs8 billion every year, said the smuggling of Iranian oil and diesel was in his knowledge, but it was a new disclosure that tiles were also being smuggled.  “I am taking steps to stop smuggling of all these items such as crockery, cloth, petrol, diesel, cigarettes and such other things,” he said, and added, “Smuggling is a cancer to national economy and its must be curbed.”

Talking about the rate of street crimes, he said that it had come down but public did not acknowledge it. “I am working on it and police have the capacity to handle it. We have identified the reasons for street crimes such as land and drug mafias and we have started targeted operation against them,” he said.

The CM further said that Sindh Revenue Board had played a commendable role in strengthening economy of the province. “It has a vast potential and this year they are set to collect Rs71 billion and I am sure it will achieve more,” he said.

He added that he had rationalised SRB collection and over $100 billion investment was in the pipeline although only in few sectors

He assured the American Business Council that Sindh was moving in the right direction and with the support of business community, civil society and common man the province would be made a hub of business, a seat of learning and a cradle of peace and prosperity.

The CM was accompanied by Provincial Ministers Manzoor Wassan, Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Maher and others.

They lauded the vision and work of the chief minister.