June 2020


Mushtaq Ghumman 02 Jun, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to allot one acre of land to Asian Development Bank (ADB) for construction of its office building in the Red Zone of Islamabad, official sources told Business Recorder.

The ADB is one of the largest development partners of Pakistan. Pakistan is a founding member of ADB with 2.714 per cent shareholding and overall capital subscription of $ 3.22 billion. ADB provides financial support to Pakistan including program lending, project loans, grants and technical assistance for bridging the financing gap and meeting the development needs of the country.

Since 1966, the Bank has disbursed above $ 25 billon, for priority areas including economic reforms, energy , road and transport, agriculture and water and social sector.

Under the new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP), ADB will provide $ 7.1 billion financial support during three years (2020-22) to enhance social protection, boost economic growth and promote sustainable development. In order to strengthen its operations in Pakistan, the Bank requires additional human resources and office space in Islamabad. ADB, accordingly, requested for allotment of land for construction of its office building in the Red Zone of Islamabad. At present, ADB’s office is located in the Serena Business Complex on rental basis.

On the request of ADB, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has offered one acre land located in sector G-5/1, Islamabad for construction of ADB’s office building on standard terms and conditions which include Rs 31,041 per sq yard at a total cost of Rs 150,238,440 along with annual ground rent @ Rs 06 per sq yard. The ADB has accepted the CDA’s offer for allotment of land.

A summary for approval of the Prime Minister was submitted for allotment of land to ADB which was approved by the Prime Minister’s Office for onward submission to the Cabinet. The proposal has also been endorsed by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On submission of the summary, the Cabinet Division, however, advised to obtain the approval of CDA’s Board before submission of the summary to the Cabinet. The CDA has clarified that fresh approval of its board is not required as its board meeting on February 2,2006 had approved allotment of 2.16 acres to ADB which was subsequently reduced to one acre. The approval of CDA’s Board stands in this case.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020



The Newspaper’s Staff Reporter Updated 08 Jun, 2020

KARACHI: The strained-relations between Pakistan People’s Party government in Sindh and federal government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf are likely to get worse over the planned privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) as the provincial administration on Sunday claimed that it owned the land worth billions of rupees of the industrial giant and Islamabad couldn’t make it part of any deal.

A key member of the provincial cabinet and close aide to chief minister also vowed to protect rights of over 9,000 PSM workers, who were being laid off under a proposed plan.

“We are against the retrenchment of 9,500 workers of Steel Mill and the PPP will protect these employees at every forum,” Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani told a press conference along with labour leaders Shamshad Qureshi and Habib Junaidi.

“The government is eyeing the land of steel mills worth billions of rupees. But everyone should be clear about it. This land belongs to the Sindh government and we will not allow them to take this land. The Sindh government had in the past raised its voice against the privatisation and we will not remain silent this time as well. We are with workers not with capitalists.”

Saeed Ghani says the federal govt cannot make the Steel Mills’ land part of any privatisation deal

The Sindh government, he claimed, could successfully operate the PSM and asked the federal government to talk with the provincial administration on this proposal.

No CCI consent to PSM privatisation

He said that whatever “secret plan” the government had made about PSM, it had not got it approved from the Council of Common Interests (CCI) because a Supreme Court’s decision had clearly said that the federal government must seek CCI consent for privatisation of any state entity.

“The PPP is blamed for recruiting its workers in the Pakistan Steel but the fact is that not a single man was hired in the mills since 2008,” said Minister Ghani, who also holds the portfolio of labour. “In other institutions, when the PPP was in the federal government, contractual employees were made permanent. The PPP was not in the government from 1996 to 2008, during that time Musharraf and other governments had recruited contractual workers in many institutions including the PSM.”

To a question, he said that whenever a decision was taken about the PSM, the prime interests of the decision-makers always attached with the valuable land of the industrial giant. “Again the focus is on the land, which is worth billions of rupees. Some 19,000 acres of land of Pakistan Steel is without a shadow of a doubt is owned by Sindh.”

In response to another question, he said that it seemed that Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar had become the prime minister since Imran Kha did not know the decisions of his own cabinet.

“Asad Umar once said he will stand with the employees of the PSM if the PTI comes into power and a wrong decision is taken for the mills,” said Mr Ghani. “I am waiting what position will Asad Umar take in the meeting of the federal cabinet.”

Minister hopes MQM-P, GDA will oppose layoffs

He appreciated the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan for opposing the PSM workers’ layoffs, but asked the PTI’s coalition partner at the centre to do more.

“We believe that a mere condemnation is not enough. We hope that MQM ministers will resist this decision and maybe if the conscience of the GDA is awakened, they should also oppose the move,” he said.

To a question about recent allegations from a US blogger against senior leadership of the PPP, he said that the media was presenting an American woman in its headline whose aim was to tarnish the image of Pakistani politicians in the eyes of the people and divert attention from the challenges being faced by the people in this country.

“I appeal to the Pakistani media to address the current situation in which people are being infected with coronavirus, where deaths from the virus are increasing rapidly and healthcare system had become a challenge.

“In a situation where the country is suffering from the worst economic crisis, where the sugar scandal and shortage of petroleum products have been pushed back, the nation is entangled in a matter which seems to be a foreign agenda,” he added.

To a query, he said that after the rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 patients in Sindh, the pressure of patients in government as well as private hospitals had increased.

All government hospitals run by the Sindh government were providing free treatment and the administration would continue to provide more facilities to the patients in the hospitals so that more and more patients could get free treatment, he added.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2020



The Newspaper’s Correspondent 16 Jun, 2020

DADU: Activists of nationalist, religious and political parties, civil society organisations and members of general public took part in a march against desecration of the dead body of a local Hindu trader by a gang of land-grabbers who had also occupied 13 acres land of crematorium.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Ashiq Ali Zounr, Pakistan Peoples Party-Shaheed Bhutto district president Comrade Ali Mohammad Jamali, Dadu Press Club president Sabir Khan Bhand, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s Maulana Anwar Ali Khunharo, Awami Tehreek office-bearer Naseer Baloch and Hindu Panchayat district president Gurmukh Das, who led the march, said that the gang of influential land-grabbers who had also occupied 13 acres of the crematorium were involved in the desecration of the dead body of Kaka Kewal Ram Rathore six days ago.

They demanded arrest of all the suspects involved in the incident and believed they had defiled the body on purpose to keep their hold on the crematorium land and frighten away Hindu community.

They condemned the incident and said that it was unimaginable in Sindh, which was the land of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Sachal Sarmast and Sami who had always preached peace, love and universal brotherhood.

The protesters marched from Allama I.I. Qazi Road to the press club and staged demonstrations en route at SSP Chowk and Kutchehry Road and finally at the press club.

Police arrest six suspects

Police have arrested suspects nominated in the FIR filed under Sections 295-A, 297, 186, 147, 148 PPC against Hajan, Ghulam Yaseen, Lal Bux Solangi, Javed Solangi, Mohammad Usman, Haji Khan Solangi and 25 other unknown persons for desecration of the trader’s body.

SHO of A-Section police station, Shafi Mohammad Golo, said that six persons were involved in the desecration of the body.

Dadu additional deputy commissioner Nazeer Soomro said that notices had been issued to alleged land-grabbers who had occupied the land of crematorium.

DHO Dr Zahid Dawachh said that last rites of Kaka Kewal Ram were in the process under supervision of teams of doctors according to SOPs when some people forced their way into the crematorium and desecrated the body.

He said that late Kewal was a cardiac patient and had difficulty breathing as well. He had also tested positive for Covid-19 and was quarantined at home. He died due to heart attack six days ago, he said.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2020